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Full text of "Using CEDAW at the Grass Roots: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in the Pacific"

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New York, 2000 



Sales No. E.01.II.F.9 

Copyright © Gnited Nations 2000 

ISBN: 92-1-120020-2 

The designations employed and the presentation of the 
material in this publication do not imply the expression of any 
opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United 
Fiations concerning the legal status of any country territory city 
or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its 
frontiers or boundaries. This publication has been issued without 
formal editing. 


The Fourth World Conference on Women reaffirmed the universal importance 
of human rights. The Platform for Action adopted during the Conference states that 
women's de jure equality has yet to be secured in countries which have not signed 
the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women 
(CEDAW). Women's rights are also still at risk in countries whose reservations are 
incompatible with the Convention, or which have not revised national laws to fit 
CEDAW's norms and standards. 

CEDAW is the international bill of rights for women. It was adopted by the 
United Nations General Assembly in December 1979 and the treaty came into force 
on 3 September 1981. The Convention requires countries to eliminate all forms of 
discrimination which interfere with women's civil, political, economic and cultural 
rights. It also establishes guidelines for states to follow in achieving equality between 
women and men. In pursuing CEDAW's goals, states are encouraged to introduce 
measures of affirmative action until equality between women and men has been 

Ratification of CEDAW has benefited women in different ways. Some 
countries have drafted new constitutions that reflect the Convention's goals. 
Others have introduced legislation which prohibits sex discrimination or entrenches 
affirmative action policies. 

Perhaps CEDAW has achieved its greatest benefits through the work of non- 
governmental organizations (NGOs), which have used the convention as the 
benchmark for women's equality. In campaigning for women's rights at the local, 
national and regional level, these groups have truly reclaimed women's rights as 
human rights. 

This publication is based on a project which was implemented in the Pacific in 
1998 and 1999 to support the networking efforts of NGOs in promoting CEDAW. In 
this project, women's NGOs from four countries (the Fiji Women's Rights Movement, 
Mapusaga O Aiga of Samoa, the Papua New Guinea National Council of Women and 
the Vanuatu National Council of Women), produced and distributed information 
materials. Project NGOs also promoted CEDAW by mobilizing community NGOs 
and collaborating with national NGOs. This project was designed to address the 
critical problems faced by grass-roots women in the four participating Pacific island 
countries in two ways. First, it was intended to strengthen the capacity of gender- 
focused NGOs to communicate and facilitate action at the community level. 
Second, it was to facilitate the production of a set of summary documents and an 
information kit highlighting the key concerns of CEDAW. The project implementa- 
tion reports in this book were written by national project focal points. 

Each project focal-point NGO in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu 
identified their prime concerns vis-a-vis CEDAW, and then conducted public 
awareness campaigns and other activities to foster women's empowerment. 


Although these countries have ratified CEDAW, they hope their work will help other 
Pacific island countries work towards the ratification of CEDAW. In this regard, 
representatives from other Pacific Island countries were invited to the project's 
concluding meeting in Suva so they could discuss how they too might promote the 
acceptance of women's fundamental rights. Country reports of Federated States of 
Micronesia and Solomon Islands, which are included in this publication, tell us the 
situation of women and their efforts toward the ratification of CEDAW in their 

All four project countries have successfully mobilized their networks and 
created unique and useful information materials in the course of conducting their 
own national workshops. Throughout the project, participants learned valuable 
lessons regarding the promotion of CEDAW by women's NGOs. By sharing these in 
this publication, they and ESCAP, hope to help others who wish to become strong 
advocates of women's basic rights. 

ESCAP wishes to convey its appreciation to the Government of Japan which 
made this project possible through generous funding support. 

Sem Wok 

Sem Wok 

Man o Woman 











FIJI 13 






































Community-based organization 

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against 

Convention on the Rights of the Child 

United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the 

United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the 
Pacific/Pacific Operations Centre 

Foundation for Peoples of the South Pacific 

Fourth World Conference on Women 

Fiji Women's Rights Movement 

Governmental organization 

Information, Education and Communication 

Legal Rights Training Officer 

National Capital District 

National Council of Women 

Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women 
toward the Year 2000 

Non-governmental organization 

Platform for Action 

Papua New Guinea 

Pacific Plan of Action 

Pacific Women's Resource Bureau (in the Secretariat of the Pacific 

Pacific Regional Human Rights Education Resource Team 

United Nations Development Programme 

United Nations Population Fund 

United Nations Development Fund for Women 

University of the South Pacific 

Vanuatu National Council of Women 

Women's Information Network for Asia and the Pacific 

Young Women's Christian Association 



Over the years NGOs have been recognized as significant players in the 
global attempt to ensure gender equality and sustainable development. They have 
played a valuable role in facilitating the promotion of CEDAW, particularly at the 
grass-roots level. In view of the significant roles NGOs have played in advancing 
women's basic rights, ESCAP has found it essential to cooperate with NGOs in the 
promotion and implementation of CEDAW. 

The project, "Promotion of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms 
of Discrimination against Women through NGO networks in the Pacific" was 
initiated in early 1998 to address the critical problems faced by grass-roots women 
in the Pacific island countries. It was intended to strengthen the capacity of 
gender-focused NGOs in collaborating with each other in communicating and 
delivering programmes at the field level. In addition, the project was intended to 
facilitate the production of summary documents and an information kit highlighting 
the key concerns of CEDAW. 

The initial project planning meeting was held in Suva in March 1998. The 
representatives from the four project focal-point NGOs (Fiji, Papua New Guinea, 
Samoa and Vanuatu), gathered to share their experiences and formulate ways to 
promote CEDAW through their existing NGO networks. The four NGOs developed 
their plans after extensive brainstorming and discussion on (1) target groups/areas/ 
topics, (2) means of communication, and (3) coordination with other national 
government agencies and NGOs. 

Based on the above agenda, each country set their own priorities and goals 
regarding their critical areas of concern. During the planning meeting, it was 
emphasized that project activities should be planned in conjunction with other 
CEDAW-promoting activities which were already in place. Thus the project could 
capitalize on plans already in place, while saving on human resources and produc- 
tion costs. 

After the project planning meeting in Suva, each country brought their 
project plans home and implementation began. Each country utilized the same 
three-phase plan for their project. First, the implementing NGO organized national 
workshops which brought together national NGOs, grassroots NGOs, and Govern- 
ment agencies. During those national meetings, an information kit was designed 
to meet the country's prioritized project objectives. Second, the information kit 
was finalized and produced by the project's implementing NGO. In the third 
phase, the information kit was disseminated to target groups through established 
NGO networks. 

Page 1 

At the end of the project, a subregional meeting was held in Suva to 
share the project outcomes with other Pacific island countries. During the 
subregional meeting, participants made recommendations for further promotion of 
CEDAW through NGO networks. These recommendations coincide with those 
being used to promote women's rights all around the world. The publication 
presented here, therefore, is intended for women's organizations and individuals 
who are networking at all levels in promoting the advancement of women's 






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Page 2 

Chapter One 

The planning meeting for the project was held on 10 and 11 March 1998 in 
Suva, Fiji. Participants included representatives from the four project countries: Fiji (the 
Fiji Women's Rights Movement, the Fiji National Council of Women and the YWCA), 
Papua New Guinea (the National Council of Women), Samoa (Mapusaga O Aiga). 
Although there was a participant from Vanuatu, a focal point NGO had not been 
identified by the time of the planning meeting. Observers included representatives from 
the Pacific Regional Human Rights Education Resource Team (RRRT), the University of 
the South Pacific and the Pacific Community (formerly the South Pacific Commission). 


Ratification and implementation of CEDAW is considered a top priority in 
many women's groups in the Pacific. RRRT has been promoting CEDAW to 
government bodies and non-government women's organizations in the subregion. 
The Director of RRRT supported ESCAP's initiative to assist NGOs in promoting 
CEDAW, and he agreed to support the ESCAP project as needed. Accordingly, the 
project planning meeting was held in RRRT's meeting room in Suva. Basic 
secretarial services for the meeting were also provided by RRRT. 

The objective of the meeting was to pool together the experiences and 
materials of NGOs which had been promoting CEDAW, and also to plan project 
activities. During the meeting, intense discussion determined which issues of 
CEDAW should be prioritized to suit each country's context, and which targets 
should be set. The project's approach emphasized: (1) NGOs networking to reach 
targets; and (2) building a sense of ownership of the project by sharing information 
about the process of producing materials. 

Page 3 

At the beginning of the meeting, ESCAP made a presentation on the 
background and objective of the project. Because the project's approach (i.e., using 
IEC materials to promote CEDAW through NGO networks) had already been 
implemented by ESCAP in South Asia, the experiences of South Asian NGOs were 
shared along with examples of the IEC materials they had developed. However the 
South Asia NGO Project promoted the Beijing Platform for Action, while the South 
Pacific project would promote CEDAW. 

The project's participating countries are all island countries and the cost of 
transportation, therefore, is generally high compared to other ESCAP-member 
countries. To maximize the allocated project funds, all participants agreed to 
combine ESCAP project activities with their own ongoing CEDAW-related activities. 
In doing so, funds would be effectively utilized to reach target beneficiaries. This 
would also allow more resources for producing IEC materials. 


The project focal-points were leading NGOs in their countries and had already 
been promoting CEDAW and monitoring its implementation. Sharing their expe- 
riences benefited all participants. It was particularly useful for representatives of 
countries which had yet to ratify CEDAW to hear what steps other countries had 
taken to achieve this. 


Fiji was represented by three organizations: the Fiji Women's Rights 
Movement (FWRM), which would serve as the ESCAP project focal point, the Fiji 
National Council of Women and the Fiji YWCA FWRM's representative began by 
explaining Fiji's steps towards ratifying CEDAW. The first national workshop on 
CEDAW was organized in 1992 when a CEDAW Secretariat was formed. During 
this workshop, FWRM was appointed as the NGO focal-point on CEDAW. CEDAW 
was ratified in 1995, just before the Beijing Conference, but with two reservations. 
Ratification was largely the result of the efforts of NGOs which had been lobbying 
parliament with open letters. Since ratification, NGOs have been working for the 
removal of the two reservations. To promote CEDAW awareness, FWRM refers to 
CEDAW in their IEC materials on women's rights promotion. In order to remove 
the reservations, FWRM, in collaboration with other NGOs, had been sending open 
letters to all Members of Parliament and holding open forums. Fiji's experiences 
with ratification and reservation-removal campaigns provided a good example to 
representatives from countries which had not ratified CEDAW (Cook Islands, Tonga 
and Tuvalu). In Fiji, CRC had been ratified without reservation. 

A representative of both the YWCA and the Fiji National Council of Women 
explained the activities of these two organizations. The YWCA committee was 
established in 1992 and now has five branches in the country. The YWCA had been 
implementing legal literacy programmes at the community level through all its 
branches. One of the characteristics of Fiji is that there are two major ethnic 
groups in the country (Fijian and Indian) and activities must be tailored for each 
group. In general, Fijian rural society is community based whereas Indian rural 
society is settlement based. This difference requires community workers to take 
different approaches in implementing projects. 

Page 4 

The National Council of Women has a strong network throughout the country. 
Encouraging political participation of women is one of the major activities of many 
women's organizations in Fiji. 

Papua New Guinea (PNG) 

The representative from the National Council of Women (NCW) and the PNG 
Council of Churches made a presentation on NGO activities, as well as on the 
Government's implementation of CEDAW 

Non-government organizations' involvement 

While the Government Focal Point Committee is in the process of 
operationalizing CEDAW, since 1979, the NGOs in Papua New Guinea have tried to: 
(1) raise women's awareness of their rights - especially in the areas where laws/ 
legislation have discriminated against women or where laws/legislation have 
marginalized women and kept them from participating in economic, social, spiritual 
and political arenas and (2) conduct awareness programmes which target men and 
women policy and decision makers. 

These awareness programmes have been implemented by churches, NGOs, 
the Provincial Councils of Women, and the Women in Law Association. The 1CRAF 
Refugee Centre has organized legal workshops throughout the country. Churches 
and other NGOs have taken on the issue of domestic violence against women, 
which includes interpretation of laws in these areas. Women's groups also produced 
and published pamphlets on abortion, alcohol and divorce. 

Adultery is illegal in Papua New Guinea; violators must pay K1,000 in 
compensation. Since 1982, assaults by husbands on wives have been illegal. In 
1985, the Law Reform Commission carried out research on domestic violence in 
Papua New Guinea. The Commission's report was presented to the Government, 
but no concrete action has ever been taken to date. 

NCW is currently examining the impact of the Curators' Office because many 
women and children have been denied access to their deceased husbands/fathers' 
estate. Pressure is building in Papua New Guinea for a law against polygamy. NCW 
is also pursuing the implementation of Section 102 which deals with the nomination 
of women to the national parliament. 

Status report on the implementation of CEDAW by the Government 

The Papua New Guinea Government ratified CEDAW in April 1994. Since 
then the Government has made progress towards establishing an implementing 
mechanism for this Convention. 

The Ministry and Office of Family and Church Affairs houses the national 
women's machinery and is the Government's implementing agency on CEDAW In 
1996, the national machinery established an inter-agency core committee on 
CEDAW which includes all relevant government agencies. By early 1997, the 
committee expanded to include NGOs and representatives from the National Council 
of Women due to their commitment to women's and human rights issues. 

Page 5 

The core committee's primary function is to facilitate inter-agency cooperation 
towards implementing the Convention, and secondly to provide initial and periodic 
reports on behalf of the Government to the United Nations Committee on the 
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Currently the Core 
Committee is in the process of formulating a national implementation plan on 
CEDAW. Each sector represented on the core committee has been assigned to 
analyze existing laws, policies, and practices within their jurisdiction. Reports based 
on this analysis will form the basis for enacting new laws and policies, as well as for 
revising laws, policies and practices which are discriminatory. 

The first report to the Gnited Nations Committee on the Elimination of All 
Forms of Discrimination against Women is due. A draft report has been prepared and 
will be submitted both to the Government and to NGOs for their comments and input. 

In 1996, Papua New Guinea established a Human Rights Commission which is 
the overall coordinating agency on all human rights instruments in the country. The 
National President of NCW is a member of the Commission and represents the 


The coordinator of Mapusaga O Aiga, which means "family heaven", made a 
presentation on the country situation and the activities implemented by the 
organization. The organization started as a monitoring and implementing body for 
programmes on violence against women. RRRT has been providing technical 
inputs on women's rights issues focused on CEDAW. In Samoa, as well as other 
Pacific island countries, coordination between the national machinery and women's 
NGOs is generally good and there is a certain degree of transparency throughout 
all organizations. For example, the Ministry of Women's Affairs Advisory Committee 
in Samoa consists of heads of women's NGOs. Women's NGOs have been actively 
working on issues regarding women and politics since men have historically 
dominated the country's political arena. In Samoa, one cannot become a Member 
of Parliament without holding a Matai title, which is given primarily to men. 
Without changing challenging customs and traditions, women's NGO are promoting 
women to obtain Matai titles so they can run for elections. 

The majority of NGOs are from women's church groups. Mapusaga O Aiga 
considers it is important to demystify CEDAW at the village level. For this, they have 
been training community paralegals who can advise villagers on legal issues. There 
is no domestic violence law in Samoa so promotion of CEDAW on this topic is 
difficult. Police training about CEDAW, especially regarding domestic violence, is also 
an important activity for the organization. 


Since the ratification of CEDAW, Vanuatu women's groups have been 
implementing activities to promote CEDAW, with particular emphasis on violence 
against women. In rural areas, there is a decision-making mechanism called "men's 
house", and women are normally excluded from the political arena. The National 
Council of Women is a major player in promoting women's rights throughout the 
nation, as it has an extensive network from the national to the community levels. 

Page 6 


Legal Rights Training Officers, who were working with RRRT, made presentations 
about their countries. These representatives described the progress which has been 
made towards ratification of CEDAW and other legal rights activities in their countries. 
These presentations indicated that NGOs and government focal points were working 
together towards ratification of CEDAW to ensure women had basic human rights. 


Tuvalu has not ratified the Convention to date. 1 A Resolution was submitted 
in August 1997 by an appointed lawyer who conducted an analysis which was to be 
a basis for ratifying CEDAW. This analysis indicated that CEDAW did not conflict 
with current national law. However, to ratify the Convention, policy makers need to 
know more about CEDAW. Traditionally, women have not been encouraged to take 
decision-making roles in rural areas. Women are not allowed to speak at meetings 
and vote only in national elections. However, in recent years, the National Council 
of Women has become more recognized by the Government as a result of their 
project achievements. NGOs are also working on women's rights issues, with 
emphasis on domestic violence, reproductive rights and female labour. 


Tonga has not ratified CEDAW, but has translated it in order to support issues 
addressing women, especially issues about criminal assault at home. Women's 
groups have been submitting petitions to the Government on CEDAW-related issues. 
There is a need to sensitize the police force regarding women's human rights. In 
cooperation with Nanga Farua, which means "building a nation" and is one of the 
major women's NGOs in Tonga, a Legal Rights Training Officer with RRRT has been 
working with a female police inspector to promote awareness of CEDAW among 
police personnel. 

Cook Islands 

The Cook Islands ratified CEDAW through New Zealand. While there is a 
population of 9,000 in the country's capital, many people have had no choice but to 
migrate to New Zealand after the Government cut 2,000 jobs. This affected women, 
even more than men. The first local women's NGO was established in 1992, and 
since then, NGO networking has been important. Law enforcement agencies such 
as the police and the judicial department need training to make staff aware of 
women's rights, in particular in the areas of matrimonial rights and family law. 


Guidelines about how to conduct the planned project were explained by the 
ESCAP staff member who coordinated the meeting. Afterwards, extensive brain- 
storming sessions were held regarding: (a) target groups/areas/topics, (b) means of 
communication, and (c) coordination with other national GOs and NGOs. 

1 However, on 6 October 1999, Tuvalu ratified CEDAW. 

Vaqe 7 

Target identification 
Target groups 

Initially, participants recommended targeting grassroots women in rural and 
urban areas. They also wanted to target decision makers at all levels (village, 
provincial, and national) because they have a strong influence on communities. 
There is a tremendous need in the Pacific to raise awareness about women's issues 
and about CEDAW among policy makers. One cannot ignore the influence of church 
groups in Pacific island countries, and thus it is crucial to involve these groups in 
the project implementation process, particularly in information-dissemination activities. 

At the end of the brainstorming and discussion session, target groups were 
identified as follows: 

Grass-roots women: female workers, village women, etc. 

Decision makers/opinion leaders: church groups, police forces at different 
levels, parliament members, politicians, media workers, village councils, 
teacher's associations, and government officers. 

Keeping in mind the above list, time and financial constraints, each project 
focal-point was asked to prioritize their target groups. 


Because each project focal-point has its own ongoing activities concerning 
CEDAW and its own organizational priorities, the topics identified for the project were 
diverse. While it is important to educate policy makers about CEDAW in general, 
participants agreed that concentrating on specific articles of CEDAW would be more 
effective and efficient. The topics which were considered most important were: 
CEDAW (as an overall issue), women's economic rights, women's legal status and 
legal reality, women's political participation and gender-based violence. 

Geographical areas 

All project countries are made up of scattered islands and, given the allocated 
funds, it would be impossible to cover an entire country. Accordingly, all focal-points 
decided to target certain geographical areas, based on their ongoing CEDAW-related 


During the brainstorming session on communications tools, unique ideas were 
suggested. In reviewing possible communications tools, consideration was given to 
cultural appropriateness, and available time and funds. The following tools were 
considered the most appropriate for the project: 

Paintings, Folk songs, TV spots, Radio programmes, Handicrafts, Posters, 
Placemats, Tea towels, T-shirts, Stickers, Theatres, Celebrities/Personalities, 
Booklets, Pocket notes, Bus tickets, Sulu (a large scarf used for dressing), 
Puppets, Linen (Table clothes, Bed covers, etc.), Poems, Dances, Teaching 
aids, etc. 

Page & 

Collaboration with the Pacific Community 

The head of PWRB (the Pacific Women's Resource Bureau), who represented 
the Pacific Community at the meeting, promised her organization's support for the 
project as a partner agency. As a Pacific regional organization, the Pacific Commu- 
nity has initiated many activities to promote CEDAW and it has an extensive network 
of government agencies, as well as NGOs. Accordingly, the cooperation of the 
Pacific Community in this project is a crucial factor for success in promoting 
CEDAW. The representative mentioned that the Pacific Community could contribute 
to the project by providing technical support. This could include sending a media 
expert to the project focal-points workshops as well some material support (providing 
access to the Pacific Community's in-house printing facility). 

Work programme 

Each project focal-point made a draft project plan of activities based on the 
guidelines developed at the meeting. After initial planning, presentations were made 
in order to solicit comments and facilitate information exchange. Valuable com- 
ments came from participants and experts, including observers from the University of 
South Pacific and RRRT/LRTOs. During the presentation and subsequent discus- 
sions, some useful comments were made. For example, television broadcasting 
covers wider audiences and has greater visual impact, but it does not necessarily 
reach specific target groups and its production costs are generally high. The use of 
television, however, could be effective to reach decision makers if these decision 
makers were mobilized for TV debate/panel discussions. Political sensitivity could be 
a critical issue, especially when mobilized target group women face conflict with their 
superiors over issues such as labour rights. 

The ability of participants to draft 1EC materials was also raised during the 
discussion. Participants agreed that collaboration with experts was essential, and 
for this, the Pacific Community's offer of technical support was much appre- 


The Budget instalment plan was decided as follows: 

(1) CIS $3, 000 to organize national/provincial level workshops. These 
workshops would assist in forming or strengthening NGO coalitions which 
would launch collective action plans and discuss ways to promote and 
implement CEDAW. During the workshop(s), 1EC materials targeted at 
grass-roots NGOs and/or law enforcement agencies would be designed. 

(2) US$4,000 for printing or producing the IEC materials. 

(3) US$2,000 to promote their distribution to grass-roots NGOs and/or law 
enforcement agencies, and 

(4) US$1,000 for the project follow up. 

Total project budget for each country: US$10,000. 

Page 9 



CEDAW Article 11: The right to work as a human right 

Topics: 1. Making CEDAW work for you 

2. Domestic work is work (Legislative change) 

3. Employment (FWRM) 

Targets: - NGOs 

- Government, Members of Parliament 

- International agencies 

Tools: - Lobbying kit 

- Tea towels 

- Posters, postcards, newspaper supplements 

- Workshops (3 centres: Lautoka, Labasa and Suva) 

- NGO coalition group 

Activities: - National workshop/meeting 

- Reporting 

- 1EC workshop 

- Creation of materials 

- Production: focal-point's responsibility 

- Distribution: dissemination through workshops; incorporated 
into family law programme support 

- Subregional: NGO coalition on human rights; FWRM workshops 

Topic 1 

Target groups 

Making CEDAW work for you 

NGOs, Government, Members of Parliament 

National workshop: 

- To disseminate information on the CEDAW report and 
highlight legislation that discriminates against women 
e.g. Employment 

- Domestic violence 

- Sexual assault 

A one day workshop on CEDAW, outlining the current 
status, the situation and what legislative changes are 

Topic 2: Domestic work is work 

Target groups: Peri urban - women in harvest homes, labour officials 

Tools: Workshop, seminars/group discussions, posters 

Topic 3: Employment 

Target groups: NGOs - International agencies and government focal 


Page 10 

National workshops: can use NGO coalition groups and the National Council 

of Women 



Papua New Guinea 

Project title: 
(Art. 7 CEDAW) 

Project objective: 

Project's immediate 

Intended impacts: 


Lobbying kit 


Government Members of Parliament 

Ministry of Labour 

Attorney General's Office 

Promotion of women in politics (National Parliament) 

To gain support of the community at large to urge the 
Government to mobilize women's participation in the 
formal decision-making process (Parliament) in order to 
represent the views of women 

- Implementation of Section 102 of the Papua New 
Guinea National Constitution 

- Review of the current women's machinery 

- Strengthened women's voice at the national decision- 
making level 

- Strengthened the mechanism to deliver services to 

1. National workshops - participants from national-level 
NGOs based in NCD and technical experts 

2. Community competition 

- Posters 

- Poems 

- Songs 

- Short stories 

3. Follow-up workshop/seminar 

- Technical experts 

- Contract officers 

4. Printing 

5. Launching of materials 

6. Distribution of materials 


One-day national workshop (1 st workshop) 

Objectives and 
expected outcome: 

Provide issue-specific CEDAW awareness promotion 
and gather ideas on 1EC materials 

Page 11 


Number of participants: 

Identified groups: 

Mother's day, May 1998 (public holiday) 

- Komiti Tuirama 

- Soroptimist 

- Teachers Association 

- Nurses Association 

- National Council of Churches Women's Fellowship 

- Council of Cathoric Churches Women's Fellowship 

- Catholic Women's Fellowship 

- Methodist Women's Fellowship 

- National Council of Women 

- Other Churches Women Fellowship 

National workshop (2 nd workshop) 

Objectives and 
expected outcome: 


Target participants: 
Number of participants: 
Identified groups: 

(1) Script person 

(2) Media 

(3) Draft copy 

(4) Final copy 
Other planned activities 

Review 1EC materials drafted at the first workshop 
and provide legal input to the materials for finaliza- 

June 1998 

Law enforcement groups 


- Law society, judiciary 

- Police 

- Politicians 

- Government 

- lawyer 

- putting information into readable forms 

- perused for input (assistance required for artists to 

- printers 

(1) Draft copy of material and reporting at the sub regional meeting: July 

(2) Final copy of 1EC materials to printers: August 1998 

(3) Launch 1EC material during the national workshops (targeted between 25 
November and 10 December 1998) 

(4) Public awareness programmes - church, school, community 

(5) Lobbying politicians to take up issues 

Page 12 

Chapter Two 


Fiji Women's Rights Movement (FWRM) 
1 st Floor, Old Narsey's Building 
Ellery Street 
Suva, Fiji 





Fiji Women's Rights Movement was established in 198 6 by a group of women who 
were concerned about discrimination against women and inadequate protection of 
women's rights. In order to redress the imbalances of women's socio-economic and 
political status, FWRM has been actively campaigning and lobbying for legislative 
and attitudinal change in Fiji. 



2 The views expressed in these country reports may not necessarily reflect the views of the 
United Nations Secretariat. 

Page 13 


FWRM has been acting as the Fiji NGO focal point (Secretariat) for CEDAW 
and was set up to lobby the Government to ratify the Convention. Following Fiji's 
ratification of CEDAW the Secretariat's main task has been shifted to monitor the 
reporting process. The main objective of this project was to empower women at the 
grass-roots level by enhancing their knowledge of and access to legal rights. This 
would enable women to be integrated in all aspects of the development process. 
FWRM believed that the project would help draw attention to the status of CEDAW, 
develop useful materials for its promotion and serve as an avenue in addressing how 
CEDAW could be used as an advocacy tool for policy makers. 


At the planning meeting held on 11 and 12 March 1998, FWRM felt that it 
would be important to streamline activities in line with the current projects 
conducted by FWRM. The two main projects were the Women's Employment and 
Economic Rights Project and the National Legal Literacy Project. The aim of the 
former project is to address discriminatory practices in the formal paid sector and 
improve the working conditions of women. The latter project's objective is to raise 
awareness within the community of women's legal rights, especially those concerning 
family law. 

At the planning meeting, FWRM decided that a national workshop should be 
held with women's organizations to outline the current status of CEDAW and explain 
how the project could assist FWRM in preparing promotional materials. The reason 
for holding the national workshop was to ensure that more groups were aware of the 
Project and to disseminate information on CEDAW. Furthermore, FWRM felt that it 
was important for FWRM to use article 11 from CEDAW, which covers employment, 
to address the issue of women's unpaid work at home. At the planning stage, the 
use of lobbying kits, posters, and cards were deemed suitable. However these were 
tentative suggestions, and it was felt that a one-day workshop should be held to get 
further input from other organizations working on CEDAW promotion in the country. 
The planning meeting was an opportunity for the CEDAW Secretariat to discuss the 
direction of the project and how it would fit with the main objectives of the 

Following the planning meeting, the FWRM Coordinator outlined the 
suggested activities to FWRM's collective. While the collective tentatively approved 
this, FWRM lacked the necessary resources to organize a national workshop. FWRM 
staff were already busy with their own individual projects and could not devote the 
necessary time to it. To overcome this problem, FWRM decided to use volunteers 
to assist in coordinating the project. FWRM was fortunate that a trained lawyer from 
the University of the South Pacific and a financial advisor offered their assistance in 
organizing the workshop. They, in concert with FWRM staff, formed an organizing 

Page 14 


The workshop was held from 14 to 16 September 1998. It was attended by 
25 participants who came mainly from women's organizations and law enforcement 
agencies such as the Police and the Public Prosecution's Office. The main aim of 
the workshop was to create awareness about CEDAW and assist organizations in 
developing promotional material on CEDAW. 

The Director of the Ministry of Women and Culture opened the workshop and 
in her address stated that CEDAW's ratification needed to be considered in the 
context of the Government's total development efforts concerning women. As 
examples, she mentioned the promulgation of the 1997 Constitution, the commit- 
ments made at the Fourth World Conference on Women and the policies and 
strategies outlined in policy documents such as the Opportunities for Growth and 
Development Strategy (1997). She further stated that since the ratification of 
CEDAW and CRC, as well as other international conventions, the Government had 
taken specific measures such as a review of family law and labour law to address 
inequalities faced by women. She also mentioned that the Government was 
considering setting up a task force of NGOs and government organizations to advise 
on procedures for reporting on CEDAW compliance and that they expected to 
submit their initial report at the end of the year. 

Following this address, a session was held on Women's Human Rights and 
CEDAW. In this session, it was explained that most violations of women's rights 
occur in the private sphere where the state claims it has no responsibility. Women's 
activists and human rights groups state however that "the personal is political" and 
that the state must be held accountable for actions that violate women's rights in 
the private sphere. It was also mentioned that CEDAW is indeed a valuable tool for 
change and the history of ratifying CEDAW was summarized. The Fiji CEDAW 
Secretariat used the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing to pressure the 
Government to ratify CEDAW. The Fiji Government ratified with two reservations: 
one on article 9 and the other on 5a. However, since the new 1997 Constitution 
has come into effect, the reservation concerning article 9 had been lifted and the 
reservation concerning article 5a is in the process of being lifted. 

As some participants had not heard of CEDAW the planning committee 
decided to provide more background on CEDAW. A trainer from RRRT gave a 
comprehensive overview of the Convention and the difference between national and 
international laws. One question asked was whether CEDAW was a western 
document and whether it had any relevance in a developing country such as Fiji. 
The trainer replied that this was a common argument used to negate the value of 
CEDAW, and that CEDAW was actually borne out of the efforts of women activists in 
both developing and developed countries. CEDAW is a valuable guiding document 
that sets principles for establishing and furthering women's human rights. The 
trainer then gave an in-depth background on how CEDAW had been used in the 
courts and in changing policy, conduct and practices. 

Page 15 


on the 

of aD forms of 



The second day of the workshop was opened 
with a review of the previous day and the Director of 
Public Prosecutor's Office (DPP) gave a reflection of her 
work in the DPP's office and how CEDAW could be 
used to change domestic laws. She discussed how her 
own experience as a prosecutor in rape trials had 
shown her that the laws were inadequate and needed 
to be changed. 

Following this presentation, key speakers covered 
violence against women, employment and family law. 
Each speaker gave a background to the situation in Fiji, 
the major issues and what could be done to address 
problems. Sub-groups were then formed according to 
interest and asked to brainstorm how CEDAW could be 
used in rectifying particular problems. During lunch on 
the Day Two, Women's Action for Change was invited to 
perform a community play. This alternative form of 
communication was used to show how drama groups 
could be used to get across messages to the commu- 

Day Three commenced with an overview of the 
previous day's session and a representative from the 
South Pacific Community Media Unit discussed ways of 
communicating and promoting CEDAW to various 
community groups. He outlined the need for partici- 
pants to consider both their target audiences and the 
messages they were trying to communicate. He further 
outlined that the message must be simple and that 
materials for promotion must be ones that could be 
utilized by the target group. He outlined key tech- 
niques in communication and gave some valuable 
advice for addressing problems. The participants 
identified the areas, target audiences and modes of 
communication and it was agreed that FWRM would 
manage production using these action plans. Partici- 
pants also agreed to raise the issue of CEDAW within 
their own programmes and organizations. 


The following are the results of the project outcome. Several targets were 
identified and strategies were made according to each target group. General 
promotion of CEDAW was directed at secondary school and university students and 
educational pamphlets were produced and distributed to community organizations. 
The project achievements are summarized as follow: 

Page 16 

Stickers - produced and distributed 

Group discussion incorporated within 
workshops on: 

• WIP Project (1998) 

• University of the South Pacific 
(8 April 1999) 

• RRRT/LRTOs (14 April 1999) 

• FWCC regional training (27 th April 

Poster on women's human rights - 
produced in three languages 

Radio programme planned (not yet 
achieved - awaiting information from 
Wan Smolbag employment rural 
women and to focus on women's 
unpaid work, Article 11) 

Bookmarks - produced 

Poverty-rural women and to focus on 
Article 14 workshops, CEDAW and 
Family Law Legal Literacy Workshop, 
Bua (1-5 March 1999) 

Stickers - produced and distributed 


on the 


of all forms of 



c a 


Fri,»l™|b, lS*SC*|f 

Radio programme by Radio Pacifik: 

• Violence - men and women promotional material from the FWCC 

• Political participation 

Women voters posters produced and 

At the end of the September workshop, FWRM decided to integrate 
CEDAW promotion within its regular work programme and projects. At the 
beginning of 1999, FWRM managed to obtain funds for a communications 
officer under the Women's Employment and Economic Rights Project. The 
organization then decided that since the volunteers who had organized the initial 
project workshop were now working and could not devote much time to the 
project, the new communications officer would take on coordination of the 

For general promotional material on CEDAW, the Communications Officer, 
the WEER Project Officer and the Coordinator decided that the target audience 
would be university students and secondary school students. In a brainstorming 
session they decided that bookmarks and stickers would be very effective, 
especially at the beginning of the school year. A brochure outlining the CEDAW 
articles was also developed. After working on the drafts, it was decided that the 
same format and pattern should be used for the stickers, bookmarks and 
brochures. The drafts were then circulated to university students for their 

Page 17 

comments. Based on these, some adjustments were made and the materials 
were printed. While the target group was university students, it was felt that 
for promotional purposes, the network of women's organizations should be used 
to deliver the materials around the country. The materials have since been 
used during workshops and seminars. Students have used the stickers on 
their folders and have picked up the brochures at booths and promotional 

To incorporate the promotion of 
LRTOs to include CEDAW in her 5-day 
are mainly held in rural areas and are 
rights, especially 
concerning fami- 
ly law. FWRM 
agreed that the 
LRTO would show 
how CEDAW ad- 
dresses the plight 
of rural women. 
The workshop in 
Bua was con- 
ducted in the 
Fijian dialect. One 
participant asked 
how CEDAW could 
be used as a 
tool for change of 
women in rural 
areas. The LRTO 
discussed how 
CEDAW had al- 
ready been used to 
change family law 
and labour law 

|l ^lUNr. m tMOKil - 

CEDAW within projects, FWRM asked the 
legal literacy programme. Her workshops 
used to create awareness about women's 

and how these 
changes would 
affect women in 
rural areas. Parti- 
cipants were told 
that advocacy 

groups and wo- 
men's organiza- 
tions had lobbied 
hard for changes 
to family law. It 
was noted that the 
Fiji Law Reform 
Commission has 
published a report 
on Family Law 
and if all the 
are approved by 
the cabinet, real 
changes should 
occur in the 




In preparing the posters on political participation, in the lead up to the 
election, the coordinating committee felt that women should be encouraged to 
vote wisely in the elections. For the first time, at least 22 women were planning 
to run in the various political parties. A catchy slogan was created "Vote women, 
vote wisely" which was pre-tested in the community. The posters were distributed 
during the election campaign and political parties were asked to display them 
around their booths. During distribution of the poster, some representatives of 
political parties complained that the poster was discriminatory and that it 
conflicted with the positions of some parties. FWRM responded that the aim of 
the poster was to prompt voters to vote wisely and that it was important to vote 
for women because women are under-represented at the highest levels of 

Page 1S 


FWRM benefited enormously from the project because materials that 
promoted CEDAW also promoted FWRM. There was increased awareness of critical 
issues facing women and how CEDAW could be used as a lobbying tool. Further- 
more the promotional material was effectively pre-tested before production so that 
participants gained skills in reviewing and preparing appropriate material. In future 
FWRM will consider developing a project on CEDAW reporting and writing a shadow 
(alternative) report. 

' ij, j£&®F%j&« 

Page 19 


National Council of Women (NCW) 
University, NCD 
Papua New Guinea 

Tel: (675) 326-B35 
Fax: (675) 326-1764 

National Council of Women of Papua New Guinea was established in 1979, aiming to 
improve the status of women so that they can be equal partners in the development 
process of Papua New Guinea. Its main objectives include encouraging and providing 
opportunities for mutual understanding among women in the country and represent- 
ing the view of all levels of women and to publicize those views where it sees fit. 

Page 20 


Papua New Guinea (PNG) lies in the Pacific Ocean, south of equator. Its 
people are predominantly Melanesian, but a smaller population of Polynesians live in 
some coastal areas. There are both matrilineal and patrilineal societies in Papua 
New Guinea. The matrilineal societies are found in East New Britain (Tolai), New 
Ireland, Bougainville and Milne Bay. Societies in the rest of the country are 

The population of Papua New Guinea is estimated to be 4,500,000 and 
growing at a rate of 2.3 per cent. The country is still very much rural, so as 
expected, 80 per cent of its population still live in the countryside where life is 
sustained through subsistence agriculture. 

CEDAW and the PNG Government 

Papua New Guinea signed the CEDAW Document in 1994. The Government 
felt obliged to ratify CEDAW without reservation to enable Papua New Guinea's 
women to participate in the United Nations Fourth World Conference in Beijing. 

After having ratified CEDAW the Government appointed the Women's 
Division of the Office of Family and Church Affairs to operationalize it. To date, 
the Office has developed a strategy to implement CEDAW, but has lacked 
resources and support from both the Government and non-governmental organiza- 

Prior to the ESCAP project to promote CEDAW, many NGOs, including the 
National Council of Women (NCW), assumed that the promotion of CEDAW was the 
responsibility of the Government. 


Papua New Guinea's representatives at the Suva planning meeting chose 
Politics and Public Life as the theme to emphasize. On arrival back at PNG, a 
special submission was made to the PNG National Council of Women during a 
workshop held by the Council at Mount Hagen, in the Western Highlands. 

1 st Workshop: Women's rights are human rights 

Date: 10 August 1998 

The NCW Executive Committee decided to put planning for the project on 
the agenda for the NCW Special Consultation Programme. The programme was 
planned for one day and included the 20 provincial presidents of NCW, 18 
presidents of affiliated organizations, 20 government women's officers and 30 

Page 21 

Purpose of the workshop 

The basic purpose of introducing the project was to bring it to the attention 
of the members of the PNG National Council of Women so that they could: 

♦ Identify areas of CEDAW that NCW needed to promote. 

♦ Suggest how NCW should go about achieving the objectives of CEDAW. 

The Suva planning meeting participants briefed about the project plan which 
was drafted at the planning meeting: 

♦ Identify and create awareness about the articles of CEDAW through the 
NCW Network through organizations, groups and individuals that interact 
with NCW 

♦ Bring the CEDAW Articles identified for promotion to an Artists Workshop 
which was to be organized by NCW. 

To familiarize participants on CEDAW issues, articles of CEDAW were distri- 
buted among participants along with sheets of blank butcher paper (flip chart paper). 
The participants were divided into regional groups for discussion and later each 
group made a presentation on the result of discussion. 

Group reports 

Group one: Highlands Regions 

Recommendation: CEDAW Working Committees are to be established in all 
provinces and these committees shall consist of representatives from the government 
departments responsible for health, justice and welfare, as well as the churches, 
NGOs, the private sector and the community. 

Plan of Action: 

♦ Training and awareness should be carried out by women working in 
NGOs, churches and relevant government departments. 

♦ The project should target decision-making bodies such as the Ward 
Councillors, local-level governments, and the provincial governments. 

♦ NCW is to recruit a legal adviser to advise on matters relating to the legal 
implications of CEDAW. 

Materials: CEDAW Articles identified for promotion through advocacy and 
development of information, education and communications (1EC) materials were: 

♦ Article 6 (Suppressing all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of 
prostitution of women): Create awareness among women of the impor- 
tance of supporting each other and support sex workers' organizations. 

♦ Article 11 (Rights to work): Review family laws and strengthen the law and 
provide resources to strengthen the welfare service. 

♦ Article 15 (Equality before the law). 

♦ Article 16 (Marriage and family law). 

Page 22 

Group two: New Guinea Islands and Momase regions 
Priority areas: 

♦ Articles 2, 3 and 4 (Measures to implement CEDAW): Research and 
identify customs that discriminate against women. Assess the issue of 
women's land rights. Review caution/legislate against discriminatory 

♦ Article 5 (Sex role stereotyping): Eliminate polygamy. Legislate to ensure 
punishment for serious crimes such as rape, incest, murder, etc. 

♦ Article 7 (Political and public life): Advocate that more women be 
nominated as members of provincial assemblies, local-level governments 
and Ward Development Committees, as specified by the Organic Law 
which governs provincial governments. 

♦ Article 16 (Marriage and family law): Child Welfare Services should be 
strengthened and fully resourced by the Government. Legislation should 
be reviewed, especially the Marriage Act, Properties Act, Desertion Act and 
the Child Welfare Act. 

Group three: Papua regions 
Priority areas: 

♦ Article 10 (Education and training). 

♦ Article 14 (Rural women): Training and education should be provided for 
the women who are nominated as members of provincial assemblies, 
local-level governments and Ward Development Committees. 

♦ Article 16 (Marriage and family law): Review current legislation. 

At the end of the meeting, participants made the following conclusions: 

♦ Women expressed disappointment that the CEDAW document was never 
brought to their attention before. 

♦ The Council should take initiatives to promote CEDAW to those in 
decision-making position in order to gain support for women's 
programmes etc. 

♦ It was recommended that since there was no time for participants to 
develop a poster etc., that NCW and the Women's Division organize an 
Artist Workshop for three days. It was anticipated that through this 
workshop, artists would use their imaginations and skills to create songs, 
poems, posters and short stories. 

♦ The participants also agreed that NCW revises and reproduces the 
pamphlets that Women in Law produced in the 1980s. 

Page 23 

The CEDAW Articles identified for promotion through advocacy and develop- 
ment of 1EC materials were as follows: 

♦ Articles 2, 3 and 4 focused on law and policy 

♦ Article 5 focused on violence against women 

♦ Article 6 focused on exploitation 

♦ Article 7 focused on political and public life 

♦ Article 10 focused on education and training 

♦ Article 11 focused on employment 

♦ Article 14 focused on rural women 

♦ Article 15 focused on equality before the law 

♦ Article 16 focused on marriage and family 


Article 7: Political and public life 

Lobbying for the implementation of section 102 

This was a joint effort between NCW, Women in Politics and the Women's 
Division. NCW formed a committee of public servants and NGOs that endorsed the 
development of two types of materials that could be used to lobby and create 
awareness on the issue. These were: 

♦ A poster that showed the various stages of the development of section 
102. PNG National Constitution states that the National Parliament can, 
from time to time, appoint three people from the community. The PNG 
National Council of Women wanted to use the provision to appoint 
women to the National Parliament since very few women have been 
elected as members. 

♦ A poster with the slogan WOMEN CAN. This has now been adopted by 
the Council as its motto. These posters were distributed to all national 

♦ A song was adopted from Our Women Song and used to promote 
women's issues. 

♦ Pamphlets and booklets were developed to lobby for nominating the 
national president of the PNG National Council of Women to Parliament. 
These were distributed to all national politicians, department secretaries, 
NGOs and churches. 

After the project implementation, the National Executive Council deliberated on 
section 102 and agreed that a Member of Parliament should take the matter to the 
national Parliament as a Private Members Bill. It is now on the agenda for debate. 
Awareness about the issue appears to have grown. Both churches and youth 

Page 24 

organizations have been asking for implementation of section 102. Women in NCD 
have been following the issue with interest and during debates in Parliament over 
section 102, hundreds of women attended the Parliamentary sessions. 

Political and public life 

The PNG National Council of Women lobbied the Government to include a 
provision in the Organic Law that would create positions for nominated women in 
both the provincial assemblies and the local-level governments. Twenty women have 
been appointed to provincial assemblies, 544 women to local-level governments and 
over 5,000 women to Ward Development Committees. 


Now that these women have been appointed, the Council is cooperating with 
the PNG Women in Politics (W1P) to provide training on Good Governance. WIP is 
in the process of developing a training package on good governance which will be 
used for political training at all levels. 

Articles 2, 3, 4 and 5: Law, policy and violence against women 

The PNG Women in Law Committee comprises women who are community 
workers, social workers and lawyers. To create awareness about legal rights and to 
protect women against violence, the Committee developed the following materials: 

♦ Pamphlets on various legal issues: Maintenance and custody of children, 
deserted women and children, alcohol, rape, etc. 

♦ New laws changed or created with the assistance from the Law Reform 
Commission. Domestic violence is now illegal in Papua New Guinea. A 
poster on domestic violence was also developed and widely distributed to 
inform the public that it is illegal to beat wives. 

♦ A video cassette was also produced called "Stap Isi". 

♦ Adultery is illegal. 

Gender sensitization through role model programme 

The Gender Sensitization Programme was developed from a programme 
initially undertaken by CJNFPA in 1996. Both male and female role models were 
taken to the national high schools to create gender awareness. The programme 
was so successful that a follow-up programme was planned to sensitize students and 
teachers in the provincial high schools. 

The original objectives of the programme were to: 

♦ increase the participation of women in non-traditional areas of employ- 
ment and inform the community about the important contributions that 
women make. 

Page 25 

♦ create awareness among 
teachers and students of gen- 
der issues that limit women's 
opportunities to succeed and 
to motivate girls to continue 
with their education. 

In its endeavour to implement the 
national women's policy, the Government 
has created a Gender Unit within the 
Department of National Planning and 
Implementation. Part of this Gender Unit 
component is implemented within the 
Department of Home Affairs and Youth. 

NCW particularly wanted to en- 
courage young men to seek employment 
in traditionally female employment areas 
and to reach parents. Whenever re- 
quests come from the communities, 
NCW makes an effort to meet these in 
order to raise gender awareness. 




' I - Mvh( GinnH! I inMm 
**4.»|ilmrn Miiie PHC I limkik< 

■ itn ka[«rv^«ti italic kMtn[ rim J 
* hiitihL ilndiw««i*l fc>H| at 
Ik.. Iim^n ■ >•■* mart, aaaa iaUM 

Role models 

Provincial presidents and women officers who work with the Education In- 
Service Coordinators were requested to identify role models in their provinces. 
Efforts were also made to identify role models at the national level who could serve 
as speakers in the provinces. 

Selection of role models 

The selection of role models was determined by: 

♦ the availability of potential role models at the provincial level; 

♦ the educational qualifications and work experience of potential role 

♦ the occupations of potential role models; 

♦ the leadership roles that potential role models undertake in their commu- 

♦ the willingness of potential role models to share their experiences with the 

In all their talks, role models encourage young men and women to avoid 
mistakes and take advantage of the opportunities given them. Children were 
encouraged by these role models to ask questions about gender issues. Children 
were encouraged by these role models to ask questions about gender issues. 

Page 26 

Some of the remarks role model participants made at workshops 

"I am not ashamed to tell people that I am a 'house husband'. My wife is very 
considerate of my needs as a husband and father to the children, and she tries her very 
best to make things easier for me at home. This, I believe is where men have failed to see 
the needs of women." 

"If you think your father is mistreating your mother, would you want to see your wife 
treated better and given an opportunity which you would like for your mother, sister or 

"We cannot all be engineers, doctors, or Department Secretaries, but we are all 
called to serve our communities in one way or another. Whatever your role, be good at it 
and do it to the best of your ability." 

"We make decisions all the time, at home, at work or at play. These decisions will 
affect our lives. I stay away from hanging around with too many friends because they can 
influence my decisions too much." 

"I took up Expressive Arts as a major because I wanted to show the boys that this 
was not just for them. This course was for anybody who has the talent to do it. I had 
to prove to the boys that I was better than them by scoring straight TVs. You must 
know now what you want for yourself or what you want to be in the future and how you 
intend to achieve this goal." 

Role model materials 

The role model booklets and the two posters were widely distributed on 
demand from the Provincial and other schools that were the initial project target 
groups. The role model documents were also circulated to all provincial high 
schools and other interested groups. Each school received 20 books, 40 posters 
(20 each of the two posters) and one video cassette. 

Other recipients of the role model materials included the members of the 
National Council of Women's Network, provincial and vocational schools. This 
programme was an "eye opener" for many teachers and students, but reactions to 
the programme were mixed. Some male teachers and male students felt that the 
programme was passing judgement on behaviour which had previously been 
acceptable in the community. Others said the programme needed to continue. 
One of the church leaders said, "We took for granted what we thought was our 
right. Really we have been unfair to our wives and daughters. This information is 
so new. Give us time, we cannot change overnight." 

Many female teachers realized for the first time the depth of discrimination 
which occurs in the schools and in the Education Department. Many felt the 
programme should be part of teachers colleges' syllabuses. Many female teachers 
admitted that their attitudes need to change too because they direct girls to 
traditionally-female courses and work around the school. Many teachers asked for 
the programme to continue and also suggested that community schools and parents 
be targeted to have more impact. 

Page 27 


PNG is so diverse that it is very difficult to see the impact that CEDAW has 
had in influencing the programmes and projects being implemented in the country. 
CEDAW is being used continuously to lobby the Government, private sector, 
churches and the public sector to improve the education and job opportunities for 
women and girls. Although PNG has made some progress, there is still much 
more to do. 

Page 26 


Mapusaga Aiga (MOA) 
P.O. Box 2949 
Apia, Samoa 

Tel: (685) 22640 
Fax: (685) 22549 


tWapusaga o ffiiga 

In 1993, Mapusaga Aiga was established as a voluntary, non-profit organization 
in response to the increase in reported cases of domestic and sexual violence in 
Samoa. The main focus of the organization is the provision of counselling and 
moral support to victims of violence, the development of its membership and 
structure and highlighting the issues of domestic and sexual violence. Major costs 
associated with MOA are funded primarily by foreign donors. Mapusaga Aiga 
works closely with the Ministry of Women's Affairs in dealing with matters 
concerning the women of Samoa. Through this relationship, MOA became the 
national focal point for promoting CEDAW. 

faqe 29 


Samoa, as a part of the international community, has participated in several 
international conferences which addressed the issue of violence against women 
including the Third World Conference on Women, held in Nairobi in 1985, the Sixth 
Regional Conference of Pacific Women held in Noumea in 1994, the Ministerial 
Conference on Women and Sustainable Development also held in Noumea, and the 
Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995. 

Since the United Nations Decade for Women (1975-1985), the elimination of 
violence against women has been identified as one of the key areas for action. 
During this period (18 December 1979), the United Nations General Assembly 
adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against 
Women (CEDAW). 

This Convention sets out in legally binding form internationally accepted 
principles and measures to achieve equal rights for women globally. Summarily, 
CEDAW calls for the equality of women in all fields. The Convention entered into 
force on 3 September 1981. In July 1992, Samoa ratified the Convention without 
reservations, becoming the first island in the Pacific region to accept CEDAW. 

National workshops 

Mapusaga O Aiga conducted two workshops to promote CEDAW. The first 
was held in May 1998 and the second in March 1999. 

During the workshops, participants were guided by the following questions: 

♦ In considering the 16 Articles of CEDAW, which would be the most 
important to promote in Samoa? 

♦ In designing brochures or pamphlets to promote CEDAW (a) which 
information should they contain? (b) what should be their focus? (c) 
what wording would be appropriate in English and Samoan? (d) what 
other suggestions could be made regarding the design of materials? 

♦ What other forms of 1EC promotional materials should be produced in 
addition to pamphlets and brochures? 

Project implementation 

As a result of the workshops, Mapusaga O Aiga wrote, designed and printed 
two pamphlets to promote CEDAW (one in English and one in Samoan). These 
explain the function of CEDAW and the articles that specially apply to the rights and 
obligations of Samoan women, as stated in the Convention. Unfortunately, to date 
these are the only forms of 1EC materials that have been produced and distributed. 
Due to lack of funding and the unavailability of a layout designer, plans for additional 
1EC materials have been delayed. These future plans are discussed later in this 

Page 30 

1 st Workshop: Preparatory workshop 

The wife of the Minister of Women's Affairs opened the workshop with a 
prayer. The 20 participants represented various NGOs, including the Pan Pacific and 
Southeast Asia Women's Association (PPSEAWA), Soroptimist International, the 
Samoa Nurses Association, the Western Samoa Teacher's Association, the Public 
Service Association, the Union of Workers, St Mary's Old Girls' Association, the 
National Council of Women, Komiti Tumama, Women in Business and Adoptus. A 
representative from the United Nations Development Programme and from the 
Ministry of Women's Affairs also attended. Staff from Mapusaga O Aiga helped with 
facilitating the group work. 

The first speaker of morning was the Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Foreign 
Affairs, who is also the author of the initial and the second country reports on the 
status of women since ratification of CEDAW She occupied the first Women's 
Desk in the Prime Minister's Department in 1979. Issues highlighted in the paper 

♦ The importance of ratifying CEDAW without reservations. 

♦ The need for maternity leave for women in all sectors. 

♦ The significance of the Citizenship Amendment Act of 1990. 

♦ The impact of the establishment of the Ministry of Women's Affairs. 

♦ The importance of the ratification of CEDAW. 

♦ A discussion of a significant constitutional case. 

♦ The impact of culture and tradition concerning the right to vote (generally 
women have good status). 

♦ The Ministry of Women's Affairs has agreed to translate and distribute the 
country reports. 

♦ The positive results of CEDAW include policy changes. 
Actions which still need to be undertaken were identified as follows: 

♦ Intergovernmental health programmes for women such as cervical cancer, 
breast cancer 

♦ Legislation reform 

♦ Public awareness about the importance of political participation 

♦ Preparation of a roster of women who are suitable for government 

♦ Lobbying the Public Service Commission to hire more women and also to 
appoint them to statutory boards. 

Page 31 

Some of the questions raised during the discussion were as follows: 

♦ Where should NGOs go from here with CEDAW? 

♦ NGOs should lobby the Ministry of Women's Affairs. CEDAW can only be 
effective if NGOs back it up. 

♦ What should be done about teenage pregnancy? 

The rights of young women are an important consideration. This ties in with 
women in business. Samoa has signed CEDAW and the Convention on the Rights 
of the Child (CRC). CRC will present an even greater challenge than CEDAW 
because it deals with the rights of children. 

One woman asked how could Samoan women be informed about CEDAW 
and appointed to positions of influence. 

A representative from the Western Samoa Teacher's Association asked if 
there had been any research on discrimination on the basis of sex. The answer 
was that there is no discrimination when one considers the social and cultural 

Pan Pacific and Southeast Asia Women's Association asked about such 
cultural practices as providing the best food for Alii (high chief) while women get 
leftovers. In response, she was told that the situation is improving now that many 
families eat together. However, a recent nutritional status report says that children 
eat leftovers and this problem needs serious consideration. 

The Western Samoa Teacher's Association was asked what their contribution 
should be and what should be done next. The reply was that the report could not 
be released as it had to go to cabine. The National Council of Women asked what 
the report was based on. The reply was that the report was based on wide 
consultations with NGOs and a review of reports published by the Ministry of Foreign 
Affairs. Women in Business asked if there was a chance to contribute to the report. 
The reply was "Yes". It is hoped that the report would be translated and a workshop 
held to discuss it. It was also noted that it has been seven years since Samoa 
signed CEDAW and completion of the report was urgent. 

Workshop outcomes 

The participants were divided into smaller groups to discuss some of 
CEDAW's articles and they highlighted three main articles to be promoted in the 
brochures. These articles were: 

♦ Article 5 (Sex roles stereotyping) 

♦ Article 10 (Education and equal learning opportunities) 

♦ Article 16 (Marriage and family) 

Page 32 

2 nd Workshop: IEC material creation 

The second workshop was held in March 1999 to finalize the selection of the 
articles to be promoted, and to review the wording of the brochures in both English 
and Samoan. The workshop was attended by most of the participants from the first 
workshop and the materials were modified. The staff of Mapusaga O Aiga finalized 
the text for the brochures and a consultant was hired to design the brochures and 
supervise their printing. 

Mapusaga O Aiga has included information about both CEDAW and CRC in 
its education and awareness programmes. It is hoped that the new brochures will 
be launched before the Teuila Festival in September 1999 and that another 
workshop will be held to launch the brochures and 
discuss how to further raise awareness in the 

Report on the 2 nd workshop 

The workshop was held on Friday, 19 
March 1999. The wife of the Minister of 
Women's Affairs began the workshop with a 
prayer, which was followed by the official opening 
speech given by Mapusaga O Aiga's president. 
Some key points made in this speech were: 

♦♦♦ A summary of the progress made within 
the current framework as a result of 
ratification of CEDAW. 

♦ Additional progress made with the 
ratification of the Convention on the 
Rights of the Child. 

♦ A summary of the work done by the 
Mapusaga O Aiga on the promotion of 

♦ Follow-up media and panel discussions 
with regard to issues within CEDAW. 




££ £ ^ £ * 

v v v v v 


The author of Samoa's report on implementation of the CEDAW convention 
presented the following points to participants: 

♦ In ratifying CEDAW without reservations, Samoa is perhaps ahead of other 
countries in making positive changes for women. These include paid 
maternity leave, equal opportunity employment and equal opportunity 
education. Although there are other areas covered by CEDAW that still 
need to be addressed, the Ministry of Women's Affairs and Mapusaga O 
Aiga are working together on resolving these issues. 

Page 33 

♦ The economic rights of women in Samoa, as covered in Article 5 of 
the Convention, are slowly but surely being improved. For example, 
the borrowing rights of women under the National Provident Fund 
(NPF) are improving with the implementation of a micro-credit scheme 
organized jointly by Women in Business and the Asian Development 

♦ Currently there are no laws against sexual harassment. Therefore there is 
a need to review legislation pertaining to such crimes. There is also a 
need to review the role of women in the clergy so that women can seek 
counsel or comfort from other women. 

♦ Women in politics and public life (Article 7) - It is very difficult for a 
woman to become a Matai (village chief). Women who have made 
significant contributions and achievements may be considered for an 
appointment, but the standards are higher for women than for men. 
Matai women would no doubt be a source of important advice regarding 
success for women in the political arena. 

♦ Women and employment (Article 11) - Participants questioned why large 
companies consider pregnancy an excuse to fire women or limit their 
opportunities for advancement. 

Pamphlets and brochures were finalized and copies of the brochures were 
distributed to participants at the workshop. Participants thought these were very 
informative and well presented. 

Other areas of concern raised by participants included access of women to 
loans and the need for information about the role of the Ministry of Women's Affairs 
(MWA). It was explained that Mapusaga O Aiga is the focal point for CEDAW and 
that MWA acts as the lead agency. CEDAW underpins the development of women 
within the Pacific. 

Progress on the CEDAW report, which MWA was preparing, was discussed and 
MWA replied that the report is in the revision stage and shall be distributed to 
government departments and NGOs once it is complete. 

Challenges of implementation 

Mapusaga O Aiga faces many challenges with respect to the promotion of 
CEDAW. These challenges were discussed with participants in the workshops and 
also with the Ministry of Women's Affairs. They are listed below: 

♦ Specific legislation to protect the rights of women: current laws in 
Samoa do not specifically concern the rights of women. For example, 
there is no legislation to deal with domestic violence. Discussions are 
underway to rectify these matters as all agreed that the laws must reflect 
changing times. 

Page 34 

♦ Cultural conflict: traditional Samoan culture is still very strong in today's 
society and therefore women are still seen as responsible for the family 
Although some women have begun to work alongside men, others 
(especially rural women) find it difficult to achieve equality. It is important 
to make rural women aware of their rights. Samoan traditions have 
heavily influenced women and it is difficult for them to challenge the 

♦ Financial constraints: it is difficult to find financing for workshops and 
the production of IEC materials. Workshops need to be held in rural 
areas but it is impossible to cover the cost of travel and accom- 
modation. Visits to outer islands must be lengthy in order to get 
messages across, however, lack of overnight accommodation makes this 
very difficult. 

♦ Media coverage: a television segment on CEDAW was recently broadcast, 
but unfortunately this report was only in English. Efforts must be made 
to translate such segments into the Samoan language in order to reach a 
larger group of women. To date, no radio spots have been broadcast. 
The use of radio should be seriously considered, as the majority of 
Samoan people have radios. 


Teuila Festival 

Mapusaga O Aiga made itself known through the Teuila Festival. Held on the 
first week of September 1999, MOA used the opportunity to promote CEDAW by 
holding seminars, presentations and discussion groups throughout the week. This 
was a prime opportunity to promote CEDAW as this was a time when people from 
all over Samoa congregate in capital, Apia, to celebrate. Other plans included the 
creation of a mobile office which could be set up easily at special events and 

Future workshops 

Future workshops should include both men and women. Plans are also 
underway to train village representatives to promote CEDAW in their own commu- 
nities. These may be offered through church groups, youth programmes and 
women's committees (three of the most prevalent groups in Samoa's village 

Media coverage 

Recently, the Ministry of Women's Affairs held its National Symposium on 
CEDAW. This week-long programme was extensively covered by both television and 
newspapers. In future, Mapusaga O Aiga, in collaboration with the Ministry, hopes to 
hold media briefings to inform journalists of the events which MOA and MWA plan to 
hold in order to promote CEDAW. 

Page 35 

More IEC materials 

In addition to pamphlets, Mapusaga Aiga plans to design and manufacture 
other forms of promotional material such as bookmarks, posters (to be distributed 
as prizes) and bumper stickers. However, production of these additional materials 
depends greatly on the availability of funding. 

School research 

Students from several colleges (Samoa College, Robert Louis Stevenson 
School) and the National University of Samoa (Seventh Form Programme), have 
conducted interviews and research projects on Mapusaga O Aiga and its functions. 
MOA sees this as an ideal opportunity to promote CEDAW Future plans include 
the promotion of women' rights through the Career Days of educational institutions. 
It is hoped that if young people learn about women's rights, their parents will as 


The Promotion of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against 
Women through NGO Networks in the Pacific has been a challenging project for 
Mapusaga O Aiga. Although it feels as though not much has been accom- 
plished, Mapusaga members realize that as the first island in the Pacific region to 
ratify the Convention without reservation, the country has already achieved a great 

One hopes that in the near future, all the inhabitants of Samoa will become 
aware of CEDAW and support equal rights for women - something which they 
rightfully deserve. 

"To ensure that Women's Rights become Human Rights." 

Page 36 


Vanuatu National Council of Women (VNCW) 
P.O. Box 975 
Port Vila 

Vanuatu National Council of Women was established in 198 and its membership is 
organized into 13 Island Councils of Women and 77 Area Councils of Women. 
VNCW's goals are to unite women to work together to achieve the objectives of 
development; to promote unity, peace and prosperity amongst all women and 
enable them to share their ideas, knowledge, skills and other resources to benefit 
all communities in Vanuatu and to build a strong network amongst all groups of 
women and relevant government sectors. 

Page 37 


At the Subregional Consultation of National Mechanisms towards Women's 
Rights in the Pacific held in July 1998, Vanuatu was represented by delegates from 
the ESCAP/Pacific Operation Centre (ESCAP/POC), the Vanuatu Women's Centre, the 
Vanuatu National Council of Women (VNCW), and the Government. Following this 
meeting, an invitation was sent to both government and non-government organi- 
zations, and on 12 August 1998, four government representatives, seven NGO 
representatives and ESCAP/POC representative met to plan how the project would be 
implemented in Vanuatu. 

Confusion arose early in the meeting about the role the Government would 
play in what was to be an NGO-led project. It was explained that while the project 
was directed at NGOs in each of the participating Pacific countries, implementation 
of CEDAW was a government function and both NGOs and the Government work in 
areas covered by CEDAW (for example health, legal rights, and education). 

Government and NGO partnership 

Upon meeting several times, it was decided that government representatives 
should form part of the NGO CEDAW committee. The desire was also expressed 
that NGO representatives would form part of the government CEDAW committee. 
This would not only encourage the two bodies to work together, but the Government 
had better resources for ongoing education and implementation. Further, it was 
agreed that there was too much work to do for each body to duplicate the other's 

The ESCAP/POC officer emphasized in these meetings the need for full 
government representation as part of this project, including legal representatives, 
chiefs and government. He suggested a workshop be held before the National 
Workshop, which was to be the next stage of the Project. The objectives of this 
preliminary workshop would be establishment of a larger group of interested parties 
and their familiarization with the Articles of the Convention. It was realized that a 
CEDAW brochure exists which explains the main Articles of CEDAW in simplified 
form. Copies were to be obtained and ESCAP/POC was to be asked to arrange a 
Bislama (Vanuatu lingua-franca) translation. 

A representative of RRRT explained how her organization held legal literacy 
workshops in the villages to inform people about a number of United Nations 
Conventions, including CEDAW. 

A working committee was formed from those in attendance in order to 
organize the National Workshop. As VNCW was the national project focal point, it 
was agreed that VNCW's president would chair the group and its director would 
oversee the secretarial functions. A planning subcommittee was to meet as often as 
required to draw up a plan of action. It was agreed that, once again, a wide variety 
of groups would be urged to attend the next meeting and that it take the form of a 
workshop which would provide people with a better understanding of the implications 
of the CEDAW Convention. 

Page 35 

Planning subcommittee 

At their first meeting, the planning subcommittee reviewed the budget for the 
National Workshop. Due to the high cost of internal travel, participants discussed 
how to encourage rural representation. It was decided to apply for extra funds so 
that the six VNCW Rural Women's Officers could attend the workshop. Also, a 
resource kit was to be made up and dispatched to rural workers so they could 
encourage village women to discuss the CEDAW Articles. The kit was to be made 
up of poster size sheets of paper. One sheet would be created for each of the 16 
main articles. The kit would also contain paper and writing materials. 

During discussions about the workshop programme, it was realized that 
fostering networks and creating 1EC materials required quite different skills. Both 
objectives could be reached more effectively if workshop participants were divided 
into two groups after the first day of the workshop. At the end of the workshop, the 
two groups would be brought together again so they could share their ideas. A five- 
day programme was to be held and it was agreed to invite each organization to 
send two delegates: one to participate in a networking group and one to participate 
in an IEC group. 

Working group meeting and seminar 

Another meeting was held on 6 November 1998, but, like previous meetings, 
attendance was low, with many attending for the first time. The Director of Health 
attended for a short period and committed his office to attending all future 
meetings. The work of the planning subcommittee, including the new budget, was 
ratified by the meeting. 

A Bislama version of the brochure summarizing CEDAW had been prepared 
by the ESCAP/POC office. Copies were circulated to all in attendance for use in 
the resource kit. The resource kit was demonstrated, and received general 

Discussion then moved on to developing a simpler Bislama title for the 
Convention. After much discussion, the phrase Tabu blong Rafem Ol Woman was 
agreed upon as a short title. A representative from the Attorney General's office 
presented an explanation of human rights and an overview of the CEDAW articles. 
He handed out an article on the status of New Zealand women and a copied letter 
from Mahatma Gandhi to the Director General of UNESCO, in which Gandhi stated 
that "the very right to live accrues to us only when we do the duty of citizenship of 
the world". This presentation pointed out that CEDAW provides the basis for 
realizing equality between men and women through insuring equal access and equal 
opportunities in political and public life, as well as the modification of social and 
cultural patterns in order to eliminate prejudice, customs, and other practices, which 
perpetuate the subjugation of women. The Attorney General's representative advised 
that those States that are parties to the Convention are obligated to take concrete 
steps to eliminate discrimination against women; to modify or abolish existing laws, 
customs and practices that discriminate and to do all they can to ensure the full 
development and advancement of women so that they can exercise and enjoy 

Page 39 

human rights and fundamental freedoms equally with men. He also noted that 
CEDAW was unique in that it did not confine itself to the conduct of the State, 
but included an obligation to take measures against any person, organization or 
enterprise that discriminates. 

States parties responsibility 

The Convention also allows for the introduction of affirmative action or positive 
discrimination until the objective of equality has been achieved, a concept that is not 
well understood in Vanuatu. The Convention recognizes the influence of culture and 
tradition in restricting women's enjoyment of rights and provides that states are to 
take appropriate measures to eliminate sex role stereotyping and practices that stem 
from a concept of the inferiority or superiority of one sex over the other. 

The document provided by Attorney General's representative advised that 
Vanuatu already has existing legal provisions that capture some of the principles 
and objectives outlined in CEDAW. In the Employment Act, (CAP 160), Part VIII of 
the Act, sections 36 to 37, prohibits the employment of women at night, provides 
for maternity leave and restricts dismissal of women employees. Also, under the 
Public Service Staff Manual Chapter 11.11, there is provision for maternity leave, 
however, Vanuatu has not yet reached the stage where it is implementing the 
provisions of CEDAW The real implementation of CEDAW has yet to come and 
although the Government has shown its obligation and support for CEDAW, it has 
not followed up on its primary initiative. The Attorney General's representative 
suggested that revision of the Employment, Family and Welfare laws be undertaken 
to incorporate CEDAW; along with employment Codes of Conduct; and that 
education and awareness campaigns be conducted in the public service and the 
private sector. 

One of the government representatives commented that United Nations' 
Conventions were drawn up in other parts of the world, and did not necessarily have 
relevance for countries like Vanuatu because of kastom (custom). A great deal of 
discussion followed this comment which made it apparent to all that a wide 
consultative process would be required before CEDAW would find acceptance. The 
conflict between Kastom and international conventions would be one that would 
arise again and again. 

Build up to the workshop 

After this meeting, the planning subcommittee met regularly to prepare the 
workshop. They negotiated the extra funding required to bring province-based 
women to the workshop and to supply them with the resource packs they needed to 
conduct village based workshops prior to coming to the CEDAW workshop. The 
planning subcommittee also identified facilitators for both networking and design, 
and met with them on three occasions to discuss, and arrive at, consensus on the 
breadth of their separate tasks. The planning subcommittee also secured the venue 
for the workshop, sent out invitations, purchased resources and finalized the 

Page A-O 

An opportunity was taken to make a small CEDAW presentation to a group of 
primary health care workers who were meeting in Port Vila. The group was invited 
to try out the resource kit and use any free time they had during the two days of 
their workshop to design posters or brochures about CEDAW. The exercise 
unfortunately did not result in useful designs; however feedback indicated that some 
had benefited from having new knowledge about CEDAW. 


Articles 1 to 16 were identified as the focus of the workshop as these were 
the ones that affected daily life. The Articles which related to the working of the 
CEDAW Committee and other matters were not considered part of the exercise, 
except for information purposes. 


Report of the CEDAW workshop, 7-11 December 1998 


A five-day programme had been planned that devoted all of the first day to 
educating participants about the CEDAW document and arriving at a common 
understanding of its relevance for development in Vanuatu. For the next two-and-a- 
half days, participants worked in groups, half developing networking concepts and 
half designing Information, Education and Communications (1EC) materials. On the 
afternoon of the fourth day, the two groups made presentations to the whole 
audience. The morning of the fifth day took the form of a summing up, with final 
comments from participants and plans for further action. Later that day, a 
performance by Wan Smol Bag Theatre preceded the closing ceremony, which was 
presided over by the Prime Minister. 

Sixty-one organizations, both Non-Government Organizations and Government 
Organizations, were invited to send two representatives; one to network and one to 
design. Thirty-eight people were in attendance over the course of the week. Of these, 
28 representatives were from NGOs, six representatives from GOs, one representative 
came from the Diplomatic Corps, one representative from the University of the South 
Pacific, one non-aligned representative, and one observer from the Pacific Community. 

Day 1 

The Ombudsman, officiated at the opening. In her address, she spoke 
strongly about the need for women to consider what they want from society, 
emphasizing that change must start with the women themselves. She pointed out 
that it is not in men's best interest to change society, as society works in their 
favour. To put CEDAW into practice will require a change of thinking. The 
Ombudsman also stated, based on the work of her office, that people are frightened 
to demand their rights because they fear being victimized. With no prosecution for 
breeches of rights, there are no legal precedents. In closing, she urged the group 
to be united on their precise aims in order to move forward, and she wished them 
every success for the week's work ahead. 

Page 41 

Following the opening speech, the specific project that had led up to the 
workshop was explained. It was explained that Vanuatu is one of four Pacific 
countries involved in a UNDP/ESCAP funded activity to promote the CEDAW 
Convention (both to governments and to the grass roots). VNCW is this country's 
coordinating NGO, and reported to a regional meeting held in Fiji in April 1999. 
As well as developing networks to promote CEDAW, this workshop designed 
professionally-made IEC materials for circulation during the next stage of the 

The President of VNCW then gave an overview of Vanuatu's involvement with 
CEDAW to date. She explained that after a good deal of lobbying by women, the 
Convention was signed in 1995, without dissent, debate or reservations. However, 
little had been done to implement the Convention and the first report, due one year 
after signing the Convention, had not been submitted. 

A law lecturer from USP discussed the document in terms of everyday life. 
She said the issues must be debated, and society, the community, the village and 
the home is the appropriate place to do so. The law professor emphasized that the 
Articles are non-legal societal issues which require grass-roots support in order to 
bring about political change. 

A question and answer session was facilitated by the representative from 
ESCAP/POC. He explained how the Convention relates to kastom and identified this 
as a major issue to be considered in promoting CEDAW at the village level. Women 
used to delivering services to villages reinforced the need to promote the Convention 
to both men and women, as women's issues are too often brushed aside as 
'problem blong Mama'. 

Day 2 

The second day commenced with a refresher overview of CEDAW by a 
representative from the Foundation for Peoples of the South Pacific (FSP), who was 
representing the other networking facilitators from CJN1CEF and Pacific Island Non- 
Government Organizations (P1ANGO). FSP's representative commenced by reinforc- 
ing a major point from the day before that change must come from the people. 
He then proceeded to give a presentation on networking. This reminded the group 
that for the project's purposes, the two major reasons for strengthening networks 
were to facilitate the distribution of IEC materials and to move towards a country 
report to the United Nations by the year 2000. He defined a CEDAW network as 'a 
system of interconnected peoples, organizations or institutions working together to 
support and contribute to the purpose and goal of CEDAW. He then provided 
handouts on NGO networking and suggested the following steps in carrying out the 

1. identifying focal points (institutions which would play a leading role in 

2. defining of the roles each organization would play in the network. 

3. identifying and defining of the resources each network member could 

Page 42 

4. identifying of a focal point which would monitor the success of the 

5. identifying of specific resources needed for the project: people; funds; 

6. enlisting the commitment of contributors to the network. 

7. strengthening the focal point through building its management and 
monitoring capacity. 

In closing, FSP's representative emphasized the importance of ensuring that 
resources from all parties in the network are coordinated and used to reach the 
goals of CEDAW. 

Next, a representative from the Ministry of Health gave a presentation on 
design of 1EC materials. She outlined the range of possible teaching aids (visuals, 
text, audio, audiovisual, games and other activities). Good communication, she 
advised, involves using several different teaching aids so that people's attention and 
interest are held. The Health Ministry's representative then discussed choosing the 
best method and identifying the purpose of the message. She concluded by 
providing ideas for making visual aids and illustrated these with examples of badly 
and well-designed posters and leaflets. 

The co-facilitator from the Family Health Association followed on with exam- 
ples of picture books, flip-charts and comic strips that her organization had used to 
good effect. All of these items were passed around the group. She reinforced the 
need to keep messages simple by addressing single issues rather than trying to 
address everything. She advised using language that is appropriate to the commu- 
nity, and pictures that reinforce the written message so there is no conflict between 
the two. 

The audience then divided into two workshop groups; one for networking and 
one for design. Each discussed their task and brain stormed ideas before breaking 
into smaller working groups. 

The networkers group first identified their existing networks in order to see 
what they could build on. Groups discussed international and national networking; 
community networking; lobbying for networking support; and information-sharing 

The 1EC group commenced by viewing the materials which the Rural Women's 
Officers had brought from their island workshops. These workshops had been held 
in the Torba, Penama and Tafea Provinces. The posters consisted primarily of 
written statements, with only a few pictures, although one group had designed a 
good range of brochures. 1EC participants set about identifying themes within 
CEDAW and refining their focus. They arrived at women in decision making (Articles 
5/7/10), women and the cash economy (Articles 11/13/14), and equal rights in family 
relations (Article 16). They then focused on designing posters, brochures and 
t-shirts because they felt that these were simple and effective ways to spread 
messages in rural areas. 

Page 43 

Day 3 

Participants went straight into their two groups at the start of the day, 
continuing to progress on their separate tasks so they could conclude them by the 
end of the day. The gathering was joined by a representative from SPC in Noumea, 
who attended as an observer. 

The networkers group discussed how to develop each Article in relation to 
Vanuatu by collectively discussing drawbacks and identifying remedies. For 
example, in education, more boys attend secondary school than girls so this 
discrimination could be addressed by lobbying for scholarships for girls. There 
was a discussion about custom being man-made and discriminating against 
women, despite the fact that God had created men and women as equals. The 
group recognized that all over the world custom is changing, with some customs 
dying out. This was recognized as a positive process. Participants felt that 
some women did not realize that they were being discriminated against and 
often said things like "women should not be in politics". There is a need to 
educate women so they can make informed choices and the group felt that 
change needs to take place within the family, e.g. by treating boys and girls 
equally; by joint decision-making at home. The group said they would like to 
see Article 2 written into domestic law, and recommended the Government to be 
proactive in promoting CEDAW through ministries and departments (Article 3). 
The Government should also enforce legislation such as the Employment Act 
which already includes CEDAW principles (Article 4). Other Articles were seen as 
already becoming accepted, although still requiring lobbying. However, group 
participants also felt that more public awareness was needed about Articles 12, 
13 and 14. They foresaw a role for the University of the South Pacific Law 
School to direct research towards law reform regarding Article 15 and that 
VNCW should lobby to that end. Due to the conflict between custom and 
religion, they again identified awareness raising and education as needed in order 
to promote Article 16. 

The 1EC group had a burst of enthusiasm and quickly developed many ideas 
for posters and brochures. A representative from the Attorney General's office who 
had been unable to attend on Day 1 due to other commitments, joined in towards 
the end of the day. He commenced by talking to the small groups but as 
everyone's queries appeared to be the same, the whole workshop reassembled into 
one group. A general discussion ensued on the practice of CEDAW, its relationship 
to Kastom and existing laws that provide for CEDAW objectives, such as, the 
Employment Act. 

While there are no physical barriers for women, they exist in rural areas 
through custom and culture. CEDAW has no binding authority in law but could be 
used to amend existing laws. Many organizations must work together for this to 
happen. The suggestion of establishing a quota for women came forward and the 
example of India was given. There it is mandatory that women be appointed to at 
least one third of local government positions. 

Page 44 

Day 4 

The IEC sub-groups came back together as one group in order to move 
towards a combined and comprehensive campaign. They arranged quotations for 
posters, brochures and t-shirts and then had a general discussion on flip-charts, 
videos, calendars and comic books. At this point they broke up again into even 
smaller groups of two or three in order to speed up the creation of draft 
materials. They clearly trusted each others' understanding of the issues and ability 
to develop materials that would be suitable for the grassroots and/or law enforce- 

A networker suggested to a designer that a training manual would be useful 
for all. The idea was quickly taken up. The networkers group had produced typed 
notes of all their discussions in order to map their thought processes. Discussions 
moved on to law reform and legal processes, affirmative action campaigns and other 
progressive strategies. The two groups were very keen to know what each other had 
developed and which issues each had identified. 

Working up to final presentations produced considerable animation and 
laughter - the result of the camaraderie that had developed among participants 
during what had been fairly intensive work. 

After lunch, the networking group presented first. They had summarized their 
main points on charts which two group members presented. They had identified the 
objectives of networking as: the sharing of resources and information and the 
development of a coordinated approach with other organizations in strengthening 
and providing support that would raise awareness and lobby for change. They had 
also identified barriers to achieving good networking such as gender (men think 
CEDAW is women's business); lack of support from women at the grass roots; the 
high turnover of MPs and political instability; the lack of women MPs; and insufficient 
funds. Key ingredients for success included: talking about CEDAW in the context of 
human rights; being well informed about the subject; and being accessible and 
responsive. Strategies for formal and informal sharing of information were identified 
along with a list of organizations to lobby, such as, the media, the police, and the 
attorney general's office. 

Lastly, the networking group produced a list of desired IEC materials, which in 
addition to those being developed by the designers, included legal documents and 
conventions, banners, stickers and petitions. They also made the following specific 
recommendations: 1) Develop a CEDAW training manual and/or resource package 
with IEC materials inside for NGOs. Incorporate this into existing (NGO) training 
modules; 2) VNCW should coordinate NGO activities for CEDAW; 3) Organize task 
group(s) to advocate for legal reform on laws affecting women, for example, the 
Employment and Health Acts on issues around maternity; the Matrimonial Act for 
improving maintenance payments; and the use of the University of the South Pacific 
to help with the above. 

Page 45 

Active discussion was instigated by the IEC group, especially on how to 
develop channels for the incorporation of CEDAW into their existing work and 
training, also how to go about effective lobbying. It was agreed that the Networking 
groups' results were a starting point rather than a complete process and that each 
organization could further identify the best means by which to utilize the blueprint 
which had been provided. 

Next the IEC group presented drafts of 11 posters, four brochures, three 
t-shirts and one flip-chart. These were passed around. They stated that a few 
members of the group would be continuing to work on a calendar for the year 
2000. Examples of the poster messages were: Givem Moa Janis long 01 Gel blong 
kasem Edukesen (give girls more chances to get an education), which is to be 
accompanied by a diagram of a school girl imagining herself as a doctor; Raet 
blong Jusum Patna Hemi Stampa Raet (choosing your partner is a basic right), 
accompanied by a picture of a happy couple; and Police imas Enforcem Loa blong 
Protektem 01 Woman (police must enforce the law so as to protect women), with a 
cartoon depicting a scene where a policeman is intervening in a domestic violence 
incident. Brochures and t-shirts gave similar messages. It was also recommended 
that each item carry a message about CEDAW in small print. Approaching Wan 
Smol Bag Theatre to produce a video was discussed and it was noted that a 
CEDAW jingle had already been agreed on for use in a women's radio programme 
that VNCW would be starting after Christmas. The compilation of a training manual 
was left to VNCW, with the suggestion that participants review their existing training 
manuals for components relevant to CEDAW that could be used in one collective, 
all-purpose manual. 

The networking group was very pleased with the efforts presented by the 
designers and felt the simple statements were effective. The idea of a millennium 
calendar was well supported. Each group was complimentary of the others' work, 
and showed their appreciation with a round of applause. 

Day 5 

ESCAP/POC's representative convened the summing-up session on the last 
morning by suggesting that through collectively identifying objectives during the 
course of the week, participants now have a commitment to educate people about 
CEDAW and persuade them to adopt its principles in their own lives. He went on to 
speak about a one-page handout that was circulated, advising that there still was a 
long way to go towards achieving medium-term and longer-term objectives. He 
advised participants that the countries representing the Pacific at the July CEDAW 
meeting in 1998 at Nadi, Fiji, had adopted the end of the year 2000 as the target 
for two achievements. These were ratification of CEDAW by the remaining Pacific 
Island countries, and submission of the first required reports to the United Nations 
from those countries that had already signed CEDAW. A calendar in table form had 
been drafted. This commenced with the minutes of the Nadi workshop being 
distributed to participants by January 1999, and leading through 12 steps to an 
official government and non-government CEDAW report that was due for submission 
by December 2000. 

Page 46 

It was agreed to adopt the three recommendations made by the network- 
ing groups and to incorporate them into the Plan of Action. It was agreed that 
the future NGO CEDAW Task Force would have at its core those organizations 
that had attended this workshop. VNCW's Rural Women's Officers were 
requested to pre-test materials and provide networking ideas and feedback results 
to the Task Force. The Task Force would then further develop and refine the 
Plan of Action. 

It was agreed that a copy of the attendance list would be made available 
to all participants. The Task Force was charged with overseeing the prepara- 
tion of the NGO CEDAW report to be submitted to the CEDAW Committee in 

Groups were requested to bring their work plan for the next calendar 
year (in particular for the first three months), to a meeting at the end of 
January 1999 so that 1EC materials could be circulated by VNCW prior to each 

Lastly, it was advised that the next step for VNCW was to have the 
1EC designs printed professionally for wide distribution and that project funds 
were available to pay for this. Also, it was noted that other funds might 
become available in future to continue the provision of 1EC materials for the 
longer term. VNCW would coordinate the distribution of these materials, em- 
phasizing the need to spread them as widely as possible, and above all to 

After the lunch break, the meeting resumed with a performance of the play 
"Arnold" by Wan Smol Bag Theatre. The play touched on many CEDAW issues, 
including the hard life of village woman, cost factors in girls accessing education, 
and therefore good jobs, reproductive health and family communication problems. 
The play was thoroughly enjoyed by the whole group and was a perfect concluding 
demonstration of how effective drama can serve as a means of "Informing, 
Educating and Communicating" to grass roots. 

The Prime Minister, the Honourable Donald Kalpokas, MP then formally 
closed the workshop. In his speech, he advised that: 

It is the aspiration of the Government that the principals on which 
CEDAW is based will become the basis for all programmes focusing 
on women's rights and development here in Vanuatu. I hope that 
this workshop will serve as a springboard to developing policies that 
promote the political, economic, cultural, and educational advance- 
ment of women in Vanuatu. 

Page 47 

The project schedule decided during the workshop 



26-30. 1 1999 



31 ID. 1999 





Target Date 

Draft minutes of the workshop distributed to participants and others. 

The NGO-CEDAW Task Force resumes monthly meetings. Focus is on 
identifying and affirming consensus on coordination/cooperation details. 

End of Phase 1 VNCW continues throughout the following year to identify 
specific activities, define them, secure resources for them, and then 
implement them. 

VNCW Anniversary. NGO-CEDAW Task Force presents its progress and 
plans to VNCW. Commitment is needed at this point to focus efforts on 
encouraging and assisting the creation, and then the formation, of a 
National Committee on CEDAWthat is acceptable to all stakeholders. 

CoM reviews nominations (from internal or external sources) for members 
of the National Committee on CEDAW, finalizes the National Committee's 
Terms of Reference, appoints and gazettes members of the Committee. 

After two month's work, the National Committee's detailed work plan is 
finalized; subcommittees are appointed and given terms of references. The 
subcommittees have two months (plus the Christmas/New Year fortnight) 
to develop their own work plans. 

Subcommittees of the National Committee begin work collecting information 
on various aspects of CEDAW in Vanuatu, and drafting reports on those 

Subcommittee work is to be finished. The National Committee will spend a 
month compiling the subcommittees' work into a full draft report. 

VNCW Anniversary. The draft report is submitted by the National Commit- 
tee to public and interested parties for comments. Public meetings are 
held over the next three months to discuss, consider, and suggest refine- 
ments, etc. 

The public comment period ends; The National Committee compiles com- 
ments into the final draft of first report. 

The final draft of first report on CEDAW is presented to CoM for 
consideration and approval. 

Vanuatu's first report on the legislative, judicial, and administrative or 
other measures (eg., education, health, Kastom) which have been adopted 
to implement CEDAW, is prepared for the United Nations, including progress 
towards the provisions. 

CoM = Council of Ministers. 

Page 4S 

The workshop evaluation: 

Twenty-four evaluation forms were handed out at the start of day five and 17 
were returned. It was emphasized that responding was voluntary and anonymous. 
Participants who arrived later in the day and had missed the briefing, were not given 
the form. None of the organizers completed the survey. 

All criticisms expressed in the evaluation forms were noted to be addressed in 
the future. Some of the comments in relation to the running of the workshop are at 
opposite poles: some thought a week too long and others thought this too short. 
Some felt the objectives were not clear (even though they were stated on the 
invitation) and others felt they had achieved their objectives. Perhaps this wide 
variation can be explained by the different backgrounds of participants. Some 
participants were in management positions of NGOs and for others, this was their 
first experience of a national workshop. Some participants were ex-patriots who had 
previous experience in working with CEDAW in other countries, whereas other 
participants had no prior understanding of CEDAW at all. Those with little or no 
previous experience of CEDAW, or large workshops, seem to have enjoyed it the 

Lack of support by GOs has plagued the project since the first meeting in 
the middle of the year. In the current reform environment, there have been an 
increasing number of committees established and an increasing number of 
meetings held. It has been common for the VNCW office to be advised of up to 
five meetings in any one day, often at short notice. VNCW was later criticized for 
non-attendance at meetings that took place during the course of the workshop 
week. It behoves the Government to not just tell GOs to network with NGOs, but 
to actually make it possible for them to do so by addressing this issue of multiple 

A general lack of men in attendance was also noticed and remarked on. This 
may be part of the wider issues surrounding the 'problem blong Mama' (this is 
woman's problem) attitude. Of course, the question must be posed that had the 
room been half-full of men, would the women have spoken up so readily? Would 
the IEC designs have focused on the same issues? Would the results still reach 
grass-roots women? 

The lack of attendance by other women leaders was a disappointment to 
VNCW also; however, division of time is just as much an issue for them too. Also, 
one must not overlook that NGOs usually suffer from under-staffing, given the 
demands placed on them, and that the first accountability of an NGO is to donors. 
Sometimes difficult choices have to be made between programme delivery and 
supporting sister organizations. 

Suffice it to say that at the end of the week, all participants were more aware 
of CEDAW and generally better informed. They arrived strangers and departed not 

Page 49 

just colleagues, but friends. Some may even not have realized that they had actually 
been networking while they were there. Now, the responsibility of everyone is to 
continue the network started at the workshop and to introduce CEDAW to those with 
whom they interact. 

Finally, VNCW has willingly accepted the role of coordinator in NGO-CEDAW 
activities, but it does not wish to be seen as being the 'owner' of 'matters CEDAW 
in Vanuatu. As was identified by several speakers, unless there is commitment from 
the highest level to the household, the absorption of CEDAW in our daily lives will 
not come to pass. 


Producing materials 

The project focused 
strongly on the outcome of the 
design group. A meeting was 
held with the printer and a 
series of drawings commis- 
sioned. Nothing developed over 
the Christmas holiday period, 
but by late January, a range of 
draft materials were at a stage 

e duke sen 

Woman emi ^f 

Tekempat „ 

Blong i% A 





. ■ _r_i kw, . «_*< I'vMto 

suitable for presentation to the 
group. A comprehensive report 
on the workshop was circulated 
in draft form to all participants 
as well as other organizations 
that had an interest in CEDAW. 
Committee meetings in January 
and February were poorly at- 
tended, but minutes were 
circulated widely to keep stake 
holders informed. 


By way of debriefing, the achievements of the December National Workshop 
were discussed in terms of what had been achieved and what lessons had been 
learned. Survey results proved useful in identifying areas of improvement for future 
CEDAW meetings and workshops. Restating and reinforcing objectives can not be 
overemphasized, nor can lengthy discussion on the Convention itself and its relation 
to kastom. 

Page 50 

Networking matrix 

Further, the survey suggested that whilst people were clearer on what 
networking is, there was still some uncertainty on how to make use of networking to 
meet each person's ends, and especially to further education about CEDAW. It was 
agreed that a networking matrix would be developed that would allow one page for 
each of the first 16 Articles (those being the ones relevant to daily life). The 16 
matrices would be circulated to both GOs and NGOs with an invitation for them to 
nominate a contact person in the areas appropriate to them and return the forms to 
VNCW. Once all forms were returned, the information would be compiled into one 
document and circulated widely. This document would then form the basis of the 
network, so that when any NGO or government office was planning a workshop or 
seminar in a relevant area, they could refer to the document for counterpart 
organizations and resources. It would become the responsibility of the Working 
Group to update the matrix regularly. 

IEC samples 

Samples of the draft posters and brochures that had been forwarded to 
ESCAP in Bangkok, were viewed by the group. They met with general approval, but 
a comment was made on the use of drawings rather than photographs of real 
people. It was suggested that drawings would not have as great an impact as 
photographs. As a result, the samples were taken to the Outdoor Market in Port 
Vila and pilot tested on women stall holders, most of whom come from villages. 
These reviewers agreed with ESCAP/POC. The drawings were not realistic and those 
who participated in the pilot test preferred to have photographs of real people 
illustrating the messages. 

In order to acquire photographs, photographic businesses were contacted to 
see if they could provide file photographs for use on the posters. When that 
approach failed, the taking of specific photos was investigated, however, this too was 
not easy to arrange. Rather than delay production further, the drafts were reviewed 
and those that could be duplicated with an available photograph were produced. 
The rest of the drawings were put aside until a photographer was available to take 
similar pictures. 

Three t-shirt designs were discussed with a manufacturer. It became obvious 
that two designs required more work than the third, so one design was produced 
immediately. The t-shirt message was 'Ikwaliti' (equality) and a drawing was used to 
illustrate it. 

Work plans 

A written request had gone out prior to Christmas urging groups to advise the 
Working Group of their schedules for 1999, especially for the first quarter of the 
year. As there had been no replies by the time of the first committee meeting in 
January, those in attendance were invited to submit dates for workshops and 

Page 51 

seminars. At a subsequent meeting, a one-page calendar from March 1999 to 
March 2000 was approved for circulation with the minutes, and for distribution at the 
International Women's Day celebration. 

Regarding the Plan of Action, as identified at the end of the workshop, it was 
agreed that the tasks of the larger plan needed to be broken down into subcommit- 
tee responsibilities and distributed among the larger group. The immediate need to 
prepare for National Women's Day on 15 May was highlighted. 

Training manual 

Attempts were made to find training manuals which had already created by 
groups promoting CEDAW, but nothing was initially found. However, a training book 
produced by SPC called "Working with 
Women: Handbook No. 2 
fied as a potential model 
for Vanuatu's manual. It 
was suggested to de- 
velop exercises in the 16 
main areas of CEDAW, 
plus an opening and 
closing module, so that 
the manual could be 
broken down into the 
specific areas user or- 
ganizations would re- 
quire. This idea will be 
developed further by 
VNCW, with assistance 
from SPC. Separate 

funding will likely be 
required for this, but 
it was felt that donors 
would be receptive. 
Also, the model might 
be generalizable to other 
Pacific island countries. 

Givint Semak 
Raet Blong 


Raet Blong Woman 
Insaed Long 

mo ©1 Boe 


Mared mo 


The notion of using radio soap opera as a training tool is still under 
consideration. In the interim, attempts to view existing training manuals will 

The launching of project IEC materials - International Women's Day 

A fund-raising lunch was organized by VNCW to celebrate International 
Women's Day on 8 March. As this was the perfect vehicle to preview the materials, 
and ideally get some media exposure, there was a pressing need to have everything 
ready in time (five posters, two brochures and the t-shirt). 

Page 52 

One hundred and ten women and men attended the lunch. Representatives 
from NGOs who were unable to attend the lunch, were invited to come later to view 
the materials and take some away. The Prime Minister and the Director General of 
his office attended the whole session. During the lunch, the work plan calendar was 
circulated, with the hope of gathering information about upcoming events where 
project materials could be distributed. 

VANGO annual general meeting 

The Vanuatu Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (VANGO) held its 
Annual General Meeting in Port Vila in mid-March. The opportunity was taken to 
display 1EC materials and make quantities available to the 11 NGOs in attendance. 

VNCW network 

In mid-March, VNCW's three Rural Women's Officers, along with the 13 Island 
Council Presidents, were brought to Port Vila for a workshop. All 16 were given 
supplies to take back to their islands for use in CEDAW workshops and as resource 
materials in other related areas, such as workshops on micro -credit training. The 13 
Island Councils are made up of 127 Area Councils, which in turn are made up of 
approximately 700 village women's groups. 

While in Port Vila, the group was addressed by GNDP's Good Governance 
Project team and CEDAW materials were provided to them. This team was made 
up of the Ombudsman, the President of the Council of Chiefs and two Professors 
from GSR 

District Administrators from two provinces (Malampa and Tafea) visited the 
VNCW office in March. A presentation about CEDAW was made to them and they 
were each given full sets of materials to take back to their provincial offices. A 
representative of the Minister for Internal Affairs was also in attendance for this 

At the NGO level, Vanuatu Credit Gnion League (VCUL) was supplied with 
enough material for its 60 village-based branches. Supplies were also made 
available to: the Vanuatu Women's Centre and its branch, the SANMA Counselling 
Centre (Crisis Centres), which is based on the island of Espiritu Santo; Save the 
Children Fund Australia (SCFA) which dispatched Project materials to its health 
project in Middle Bush, Santo and a GN1CEF nutrition project on Malekula Island. 
Forty of each were also given to the Society for Disabled People for distribution by 
their four area workers whose work takes them to villages on outer islands. One 
hundred and seventy copies were provided to SCFA for distribution to aid posts as 
part of a health awareness promotion. Wan Smol Bag Theatre was given a supply 
for their youth clinic in Port Vila, and for their planned tour of 30 villages on two 
islands. The Rural Skills Training Programme (RSTP) received six copies for 
centres on Epi, Paama and Santo, and the Vocational Rural Development Training 
Centre Association (VRDTCA) received 40 sets for circulation to their village based- 

Yaqe 53 

At the government level, samples were provided to the main departments 
working in CEDAW areas. These were the departments of Women's Affairs, 
Education, Agriculture, Cooperatives and Ni-Vanuatu Business Opportunities. All of 
these departments have community workers on islands. Also, the Primary Health 
Care (PHC) Coordinator at the Health Department (who was an IEC facilitator), 
was given adequate supplies for distribution to her six PHC educators based at the 
six provincial headquarters. Materials were provided to VANWODS, the Vanuatu 
Women's Development Scheme (micro-credit). Two hundred women who are 
involved in the scheme are based in villages on the outskirts of Port Vila. The 
Cultural Centre Women's Coordinator received a small supply for visits to four 
villages in North Efate. Their Young People's Project (YPP) was also supplied. The 
30 main high schools, which are spread across 10 islands, were each sent a full set 
of materials, plus a summary of the CEDAW Articles in Bislama. 

The international volunteer network was also utilized. Peace Corps (USA) 
received 30 sets of everything for distribution to its volunteers who are based in 25 
villages on 20 islands. JOCV (Japan), whose volunteers are also village based, 
received 16 sets for use on 12 islands. A CCJSO (Canada) volunteer, who was 
visiting several islands identifying projects, was supplied with 20 of everything. Her 
supplies will be replenished regularly as required. Three VSA (New Zealand) 
volunteers are based in different villages on two islands and they were supplied as 

VNCW communication tools 

The CEDAW radio jingles, produced by Wan Smol Bag Theatre were aired on 
Ol Woman Tedei, the VNCW weekly half-hour national radio programme. This 
programme is targeted at village women. Two jingles will be played during every 
programme. Should other funding become available, the jingles could stand on 
their own as radio spots. 

Nius Blong Ol Woman, the VNCW national newsletter, which has a circulation 
of 3000 around the country, will feature the completed IEC designs in the May 1999 
edition and will use reduced images of the posters to fill spaces in future editions. 
Readers will be invited to contact the office if they would like posters and brochures 
for their own villages. 

Distribution budget 

The need for a second workshop to distribute the materials was not deemed 
necessary. A distribution network had been easily identified. It became more 
important to find out what suitable events were coming up and to make sure that 
organizers knew the materials were available. That being the case consent to vary 
the use of the distribution budget was sought. 

Based on recommendations of the working group, the budget was used for 
the following purposes: to produce more materials; to employ a person for one 
week; to telephone a targeted group of organizations and government offices; to find 
out what seminars and workshops they planned for the year; to make 3,000 

Page 54 

photocopies of an insert which was added to an issue of Nius Blong OI Woman; 
and to purchase a supply of postage stamps for future use in distributing extra 
materials. Due to the high cost of travel, the budget was not deemed enough to 
allow for visits to the provinces to hold workshops, or to pay province-based people 
to visit more than a few villages. 


Given that people have different levels of understanding of CEDAW future 
workshops could be divided into two stages, each of two or three days duration. 
The first stage would be devoted entirely to explaining CEDAW, with the first day's 
session aimed at absolute beginners. On the second day, these would be joined by 
those with a moderate knowledge of CEDAW. On the third day those who only 
needed a brief refresher about CEDAW would join the first two groups. Once this 
introductory phase had been completed, a second session would focus only on the 
objectives of the workshop. 

Getting people with no design experience to design effective 1EC materials is 
not an easy task. Basic principles of effective design had to be understood before 
the drafting of materials could be attempted. Obviously it was not possible to train 
VNCW field staff to much extent before they went out to villages to conduct IEC- 
development workshops. The concept of asking grass-roots women to design 
materials is laudable, but in practice not very successful. The most important 
achievement of the national workshop was the attendance of women from distant 
islands (for which extra budget had to be obtained). This approach enabled people 
based in rural areas, who understood local conditions, to collaborate with people 
with design expertise. Thus the ideas of the former could be translated into an 
effective poster or t-shirt. 

Vanuatu's Comprehensive Reform Programme (CRP) has resulted in a myriad 
of committees being established in every arena. Towards the end of 1998, it was 
common in many agencies to be invited to three or more meetings per day. In 
both GO and NGO circles, staff were complaining of spending so much time 
attending meetings that they did not have time to write reports, or complete any 
other work. This problem impacted the CEDAW workshop because many people 
were unable to attend a week-long session, and of those who did, many missed 
some sessions in order to attend other meetings. 

Women and men working in the CEDAW programme areas invariably rely on 
donor funding to continue to operate. As a result, they are busy meeting donor 
objectives and are not always able to support each other's seminars and 

Government officers are primarily men. There were several comments made 
during the workshop and through later feedback, about the lack of men in 
attendance. There are the attitudes that kastom takes precedence over international 
conventions, and that women's welfare is a women's problem. Increased participa- 
tion of men is only likely to occur if government is pressured and the Government 
employees can attend as part of their regular work. 

Page 55 

The difficulty in getting good attendance at working group meetings hindered 
progress. A small planning core eventually did all the work, but they had work of 
their own to attend to as well. More advance notice might have secured a larger 
attendance. Regardless, despite the low numbers of participants, there was no lack 
of quality of participants. Those in attendance were very dedicated to the issues and 
to their tasks and the outcome of the project will reflect this. 


The working group is aware of the special meeting on women being held at 
the United Nations in 2000. VNCW has contributed to the report to the United 
Nations which is being compiled by the Department of Women's Affairs. 

The Asia Pacific Women Lawyers in Development (APWLD) group met in Port 
Vila in June 1999. The topic of their conference was CEDAW and the Law. VNCW 
co-organized the conference and reported back to the working group. 

Wan Smol Bag Theatre applied to the new AusAlD Human Rights fund for 
support to produce a CEDAW soap opera for use on Radio Vanuatu, in particular on 
OI Woman Tedei - VNCWs radio programme. VNCW has submitted a letter of 
support for their application, rather than applying separately for funding. Wan Smol 
Bag intends to produce the soap opera in both Bislama and English so that it can 
used more widely in the Pacific. 

All laws in Vanuatu are to be reviewed within the next five years. Whilst it could 
not be expected that they will all reflect CEDAW edicts, women will be consulted 
regarding how laws are developed and this will reinforce alignment with CEDAW 

Van W1P has on its programme the review of Vanuatu laws to bring them into 
line with CEDAW. 

Reform of Parliament and the electoral system (part of a recently- announced 
Phase 11 of CRP) has increased interest in establishing a Human Rights Commis- 
sion. All of these developments will support women, and for mainstreaming 

Page 56 

Chapter Three 


During the subregional meeting (see Chapter Four), Federated States of 
Micronesia and Solomon Islands made country presentation on the way towards 
CEDAW ratification. These countries have not ratified CEDAW to date. 


From 10 to 14 May 1999, representatives from the country's four States came 
together in Kolonia, Pohnpei, for a workshop on CEDAW. This workshop was jointly 
sponsored by the National Women's Advisory Council and the FSM Women's 
Association Network (an NGO). The Pacific Regional Human Rights Resource Team 
(RRRT) provided technical assistance, in collaboration with the UNDP's Good 
Governance Programme. 

The workshop was the first of its kind in the FSM. Although CEDAW had 
been examined and discussed at the State level, and during the third and fourth 
FSM Women's Conferences, this was the first time that participants from all the 
States came together and examined CEDAW and the National Convention/laws and 
States Conventions/laws. Technical assistance for the workshop was provided by the 
Pacific Regional Human Rights Resource Team (RRRT). 

At the conclusion of the workshop, participants formulated a Plan of Action 
for the four states which was intended to increase public awareness of CEDAW. 
Following the workshop and return to their own states, participants agreed to carry 
out the following plans: 

♦ Share their experiences and the Plan of Action with the public; 

♦ Circulate a petition to be signed by as many women as possible; 

♦ Form a task force on CEDAW that would include as many key personali- 
ties as possible; 

♦ Translate the Convention; and 

♦ Begin the public information campaigns: Radio programme, pamphlets, 
flyers and others. 

The agreed-upon project time frame was to be about a year. The national 
Government had promised to assist the States in implementing their Plans of Action. 

For the past several years, FSM has been reviewing CEDAW, and the National 
Executive Branch has twice submitted the Convention to the National Congress for 
ratification. During the 10th Congress, the Chairperson of the Committee on 
Foreign Affairs pushed for ratification of the Convention. It was passed by the 
Committee, but during the final session of the whole Committee of the 10th 
Congress, it was deferred. Members of Congress wanted more public awareness 
about the Convention, especially at the grassroots level, before taking action. 

Page 57 

Perhaps it was a blessing that the 10th Congress did not ratify the Convention. 
As it came out during the workshop on CEDAW, the public, especially those at the 
grass roots needed to have a good understanding of CEDAW, its intention and how it 
would impact their daily lives. As mentioned earlier, participants of the recently- 
concluded workshop on CEDAW formulated plans and committed themselves to 
bringing greater awareness to the public about the pros and cons of CEDAW. It has 
been envisioned that within a year, and with greater effort by the States' Task Force, 
that the people of the Federation would be in a better position to either ask Congress 
for ratification or give up the lobbying process because there was no need for change. 
As former First Lady said during a social function for the Workshop on CEDAW, "It 
should be an initiative from all the women in FSM who think there is a need to 
change or improve the quality of life for ourselves and our future generations". 

During the national workshop in May 1999 on CEDAW, the Pacific Regional 
Human Rights Resource Team (RRRT) provided assistance under the UNDP's Good 
Governance Programme. During the workshop participants closely examined 
CEDAW, National Conventions/laws, States' Conventions/laws and formulated four 
State Plans of Action to increase public awareness and accelerate the lobbying 
efforts to ratify CEDAW. As a result of this workshop, recommendations were made 
on: (1) sharing the Plan of Action at State level; (2) circulating a petition to as many 
women as possible; (3) forming a task force on CEDAW; (4) translating CEDAW; and 
(5) beginning public awareness campaigns through radio programmes, pamphlets, 
flyers, etc. The National Government has promised to assist the four States in 
implementing their Plans of Action. 

Current situation 

Like a number of Pacific island countries, the Solomon Islands is signatory to the 
principles of CEDAW, but has yet to ratify the Convention since it came into force in 
1981. However, the country is fully committed to advancing the status of women. 
In its Organic Law, the Constitution of Solomon Islands protects the rights of all its 
citizens, regardless of gender, and ensures that there is no discrimination against 
women. This already sets the scene for commitment to and implementation of CEDAW. 

It can be said with confidence that the implementation of CEDAW began even 
before ratification. A number of important issues which are directly related to 
articles of the Convention had been addressed and will continue to be addressed by 
the Government, churches and NGOs. For instance, the Family Support Centre is 
addressing the issue of domestic violence. Solomon Islands women already have a 
right to vote and to participate in the political processes of the country. The Labour 
Act covers women's employment entitlements. 

Reflective also of the Government's commitment has been the establishment 
of the Women and Development Division (WDD), the establishment and financing of 
the National Council of Women (NCW), the establishment of the Ministry of Women, 
Youth and Sports and, most importantly, the passing by Cabinet of the first-ever 
Solomon Islands National Women's Policy in October of 1998. 

In its Reform Programme, women's issues and concerns have also been 
integrated in the Government's Medium Term Development Strategy (MTDS). This 

Page 5S 

views women as an important economic resource that can be mobilized towards the 
twin national goals of economic growth and equal access to resources. Regionally, 
the Solomon Islands is also committed to addressing the critical areas of concern in 
the Pacific Platform for Action (PPA). Similarly, the NGOs, including the churches, 
enhance women's development by playing a major complimentary role to govern- 
ment services. 

One of the major barriers for women of the Solomon Islands has been the 
fact that they are not aware of their rights. Also services relating to women's rights 
are often not available and accessible. If not dealt with, these constraints may limit 
progress towards ratification. The ESCAP project on the promotion of CEDAW 
would be very timely in a country which is working towards ratification of CEDAW. 

In working towards ratification and implementation of CEDAW, the Govern- 
ment, churches and NGOs all have important and interdependent roles to play. Also 
CEDAW must not be seen or be dealt with separately from other important national 
commitments such as implementation of the Solomon Islands National Women's 
Policy, the Pacific Plan of Action (PPA) or implementation of the National Women's 
Machinery Review recommendations. These commitments must be integrated 
through a Plan of Action to complement each other, as well as to save resources. 

In preparation for ratifying CEDAW the Government has begun to pursue the 
following priorities: identification and establishment of focal points within the Govern- 
ment and NGOs, institutional strengthening or capacity building of focal points, and 
creating and formalizing an effective network through which CEDAW can be imple- 
mented. Prior to ratification, there is need to review existing laws in the Solomon 
Islands to see which ones discriminate against women. Additionally, there is need 
for gender sensitizing in order to create a climate that is conducive to continuous 
dialogue between government and NGOs. Finally public support for CEDAW must 
be generated. 

The role of the churches and NGOs 


The role of the churches and NGOs in the movement towards ratification of 
CEDAW is crucial. While they must maintain dialogue with the Government as 
partners in women's development, their own networks must be strengthened to be 
fully prepared for CEDAW. The churches and NGOs in the Solomon Islands 
complement Government efforts by providing or augmenting community services, 
providing informal training and by enhancing women's development. 

Today there are five main churches in the Solomon Islands, and a number of 
smaller ones. The five main churches form the Solomon Islands Christian Associa- 
tion (SICA), which coordinates their activities and provides representation to the 
Government and other authorities. SICA also operates the SICA Federation Women's 
Desk, which represents the women's groups (CWG's) of the five main churches. The 
CWGs are an integral part of the churches and are strongly supported by their 
respective denominations. The CWGs have also been strong supporters for a 
National Women's Policy and have urged the Government to assist the churches in 
women's development. 

Page 59 

Although some of the articles of CEDAW could be seen as contrary to 
religious beliefs, the CWGs have proven to be, and will remain, an efficient and 
effective means of implementing women's development programmes in rural areas. 
The ESCAP project could make effective use of the network of CWGs because they 
are linked from the national level down to the villages. Also their programmes take 
a "holistic" approach by addressing not only the well-being of the individual, but also 
that of the family and the community. Subjects such as health, nutrition, home 
management, literacy, and early childhood education are now being integrated with 
evangelistical programmes. 

The strengths of the CWG network are as follows: 

♦ a network that reaches rural communities 

♦ familiarity with rural needs and ability to identify the training needs of the 

♦ the ability to train trainers at various levels 

♦ a network of women's groups whose activities benefit the community as a 

♦ a group of committed members, most of whom are volunteers 

♦ collaboration with the established churches would provide a structure 
through which the ESCAP project could operate 


NGOs, like the churches, provide an important avenue for promoting CEDAW. 
While some NGOs such as the YWCA, the National Council of Women, and the 
Solomon Islands Information Network are specifically women's organizations, others 
have broader roles and functions. 

The Development Services Exchange (DSE) is the umbrella body for NGOs 
working in the Solomon Islands. It coordinates the activities of its members to help 
and strengthen the NGO communities and to encourage people-centred develop- 
ment. Currently there are about 60 affiliated members. 

The NCW is the umbrella body for women's organizations in the country. The 
Council has been charged with the responsibility of promoting mutual understanding, 
cooperation, consultation and networking among all focal points that are responsible 
for training, information projects and the overall development of women. NCW was 
recently created, following the recommendations of a review on the national women's 
machinery. It was decided that NCW should be used as the major focal point for 
coordination and implementation of CEDAW through NGO networks. However since 
it may take time before the Council is fully established, it was recommended that the 
Women and Development Division (WDD), which, in close consultation in DSE, 
serves as the focal point until NCW is ready to carry out its functions. It is important 
to note that the NGOs and the Government (through the WDD) have worked closely 
together in recent years in addressing women's issues through training sessions, 
workshops and meetings. Although informal, this relationship should be seen as a 
positive step towards effective coordination and networking for women's development 
within Solomon Islands. There is also a need for this relationship to be further 
strengthened in order to promote cooperation and discourage competition. 

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Constraints and recommendations 

The delay in ratifying CEDAW has not been a result of ignorance about the 
Convention. Rather, it was felt that the following problems must first be addressed: 

Staffing problem 

The effective implementation of CEDAW depends on appropriate staff. Both 
NCW and WDD need adequate numbers of appropriately trained staff. As the 
Government arm responsible for women's development, WDD will also become the 
government focal point for CEDAW. Currently WDD is acutely short of staff both at 
the national and the provincial levels. Similarly, the NCW has yet to employ 
administrative staff to carry out functions at the national and provincial levels. 
Although it is encouraging to note the that Government in its Medium Term 
Development Strategy increased the staff of WDD, staff numbers are still not 
adequate. WDD staff also need training to increase their capacity to implement 

Strengthening of focal points through establishing and 
formalizing the network 

While it is not too difficult to identify focal points within the churches and the 
NGOs, there is still a need to strengthen these focal points through skills training 
and financial resources. Apart from WDD, there is a need to identify women's focal 
points in other government departments in order to carry out CEDAW. The Planning 
Divisions, which already exist in some of the Departments, would be good choices 
for focal points. In recognition of the importance of an efficient network among 
NGOs, churches and the Government, these networking relationships should be 
endorsed by the Government. 


The lack of financial resources to carry out women's development activities 
continues to be the Solomon Islands' biggest obstacle. There is an urgent need for 
funding from international donors as they are the major source of financing for 
women's development in the country. On this note, it is also important for donors 
to consult with the Government and WDD to ensure that development programmes 
such as the promotion of CEDAW reflect national priorities. Continuous dialogue 
among donors, NGOs and the churches is also essential in promoting and imple- 
menting CEDAW. 

Mainstreaming of CEDAW 

Although gender is already integrated into the Government's Medium Term 
Development Strategy (MTDS) and gender training for planners will take place in 
September 1998, gender considerations are as yet not a formal part of the national 
planning process. However, government departments are playing an increasing role 
in addressing or integrating women's issues in development programmes. It is 
therefore necessary to consider CEDAW when undertaking sectoral planning to 
ensure the Convention has maximum impact at all levels of administration and 
government. This obviously will also impact assistance the Government might 

Page 61 

provide to the churches and NGOs to enable them to undertake CEDAW activities. 
A Plan of Action which integrates the Solomon Islands National Women's Policy, the 
PPA and recommendations of the Review of the National Machinery should be a 
priority in the mainstreaming process. 

Review of national laws 

It is likely that some of the country's laws still discriminate against women, 
while others have been revised to fit articles of the Convention. In view of this, it is 
recommended that a legal expert be made available to look at the existing laws of 
Solomon Islands in order to identify which ones still discriminate against women. 
This will also ensure that planning activities are more specific and well targeted. 

Awareness raising and advocacy on women's rights 

Ratification of CEDAW requires acceptance and widespread support for it at all 
levels of society. Awareness raising about CEDAW and advocacy of women's rights 
must therefore be given priority. Training should be given to focal points so they 
can effectively carry out CEDAW activities. It is also important that CEDAW be 
translated into simple language so that it can be easily understood. This will help 
people see the usefulness of CEDAW in their own context and encourage them to 
develop a sense of ownership for it. 

Collection of data 

The lack of accurate and comprehensive data on the situation of women in 
the Solomon Islands continues to be a problem. It is therefore important that a 
survey be undertaken to collect accurate data to ensure that planning for implemen- 
tation of CEDAW is more targeted and focused. 


Implementation of activities to achieve ratification of CEDAW must be under- 
taken in partnership. It is important that there is constant dialogue between partners 
to maintain a healthy working relationship during the implementation of CEDAW- 
promoting activities. Training should be provided on how to initiate and maintain 
effective networking. 

We would like to recommend that ESCAP in close consultation with the SPC/ 
PWRB, coordinate NGO networking on CEDAW throughout the Pacific. ESCAP 
already has a project which is using NGO networks in the Pacific to promote 


In promoting CEDAW in the Solomon Islands, there are strengths and 
opportunities to build on and also weaknesses which must be overcome. Through 
careful planning, in preparation for ratification of the Convention, CEDAW can be 
implemented effectively. It is hoped that the principles of CEDAW will be translated 
into the local context so that people will identify with it and develop a sense of 
ownership for it. Once this stage has been reached, support for implementation of 
CEDAW will be guaranteed from the national to the community levels. 

Page 62 

Chapter Four 

The Subregional Meeting on Promotion of the Convention on the Elimination of All 
forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) through NGO-networks in the 
Pacific was held on 18 and 19 May 1999 in Suva, Fiji, to share experience of the 
project implementation and discuss about the replicability of the project approach 
in other Pacific island countries. The meeting reaffirmed that NGO networks and 
collaboration are critical in bringing the articles of CEDAW into practice. This 
collaborative approach should further be used for reporting and monitoring 
mechanisms of CEDAW along with the IEC materials produced. The meeting also 
recognized that there is a need to understand the substantive issues of CEDAW 
prior to preparing promotional materials. 

Page 63 


The participants at the subregional meeting passed the following recom- 
mendations at the end of the meeting. The recommendations, which is a result 
of the project implementation review and discussion of the future implications, 
concern (a) the substance of the materials to be produced for the promotion of 
CEDAW to reach target audience, (b) networking to bring synergy effect on the 
CEDAW promotion efforts at all levels, (c) working with civil society for the 
penetration and practice of CEDAW in daily life of all women and men, (d) media 
mainstreaming to take advantage of information technology and media com- 
munications for the promotion of CEDAW, and (e) financial implications of the 

(a) Substance (materials) 

1. To reach the target audience effectively and to empower them, involve them 
from the project designing. 

2. Message should be simple to be understood clearly. Material selected can be 
practical (such as calendar and stickers). 

3. In order to ensure the involvement of both men and women in combating the 
infringement of the CEDAW, the participation of men and women in production 
of IEC materials should be actively encouraged. Pre-testing of the materials 
for both men and women is essential. 

4. The dissemination of information through serials and dramas, especially through 
television and radio, could be promoted as these are effective means for 
creating awareness, changing people's attitudes and behaviours. All forms of 
information dissemination should be considered in order to gain access. For 
instance, involving commercial script writers to deliver CEDAW implication 
should be explored. 

5. An exchange of the handbooks, scripts, songs and other materials created 
during the project should be encouraged on a regional level. ESCAP and 
regional organizations such as the Pacific Community could be the coordinating 
body to facilitate this exchange. 

6. Be sensitive about the use of vocabulary in CEDAW which might cause major 
conflict with culture and society of the target groups. 

7. All materials should be translated into local languages. Accuracy of translation 
should be ensured by obtaining technical assistance in the country where 
available. In case of technical terms clarifications, seek the cooperation of 
regional agencies such as RRRT and SPC 

8. In some circumstances, IEC material needs to be targeted for the use of 
carefully specified audience due to the sensitivity of the CEDAW contents. 

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(b) Networking 

1. Links between national level NGOs and grass-roots NGOs which were fostered 
in the implementation of this project should be maintained, strengthened and 
enhanced. A regional network should be further strengthened through ESCAP 
Women's Information Network for Asia and the Pacific (WINAP) Newsletter and 
other forms of newsletters in the region. 

2. Since subregional networking is prevalent, such networking could be streng- 
thened without necessarily conforming to a formal structure (i.e. by facilitating 
information exchange at various meetings). As for a formal structure, SPC/ 
PWRB should strengthen the regional network as a focal point for the CEDAW 

3. Utilize new information and communication technology which creates oppor- 
tunities for dialogue while recognizing risks of marginalizing disadvantaged 

4. Network at all levels, national, subregional, regional, global for exchanging 
experience and provide support to one another. 

5. Create synergies between research organizations and grass-roots NGOs so that 
insights gained at grass-roots level can influence research agenda and vice 

6. Donors should be approached for linking Internet connections over the region. 

7. For the ratification of CEDAW in countries which have not ratified the Conven- 
tion, seek regional cooperation of national NGOs in countries which have 
ratified the Convention (i.e. Fiji, PNG, Samoa, Vanuatu). This technical 
cooperation could be facilitated by regional and international agencies. 

8. Donors should consider funding projects in line with other activities which have 
already taken place. 

9. Work with those who are working with other conventions, such as CRC in 
particular, to link CEDAW 

(c) Working with civil society 

1. While coordinating and cooperating with national focal points for women, 
linkages with other ministerial entities should be taken into consideration in 
order to build firm GO-NGO collaboration. 

2. CEDAW-awareness training for line ministries should be provided and preferably 
built into training programmes. 

3. Create/strengthen new partnership to develop coalitions and synergies among 
different group linked to specific CEDAW areas of concerns such as violence 
against women. 

4. Donors should propose that any project proposals of governments and NGOs 
have gender aspects in their proposed activities. 

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5. In the context of maintaining social integrity and ongoing economic reform, link 
national women's development plan with National Development Plan. 

6. Government should not depend on NGOs for the CEDAW promotion at grass 
roots. The National focal point for the advancement of women should take an 
active role in coordinating and strengthening NGOs capacity in this regard. 

7. Traditional leaders such as village chiefs should be familiarized with CEDAW. 

8. Organize an open forum between NGOs and government to discuss the 
promotion of CEDAW to share their views and to coordinate the action together 
for the promotion/ratification of CEDAW. 

9. As there are many other NGO activities, lack of human resources in NGOs 
sometimes hinder project implementation. Volunteers are encouraged to 
provide additional support to project implementation. Donors should recognize 
this perpetuate problem faced by NGOs when providing funds without opera- 
tional costs. 

(d) Media mainstreaming 

1. While cost-effective strategies such as disseminating information through 
schools and colleges could be undertaken, their audience is limited. In spite of 
the higher costs, mainstream media should also be utilized because these reach 
a much larger audience. 

2. Establish/strengthen media monitoring groups to prevent negative portrayal of 
women in all forms of media. 

3. Establish network with mainstream media, by inviting them for workshops and 
other activities. For this, effort to make CEDAW promotion programme 
commercially competitive would be necessary. 

4. To increase public attention and interest, media coverage on CEDAW promotion 
activities should be promoted. 

5. State-run broadcasting companies could be approached to provide free air time 
for CEDAW awareness raising, preferably during prime time. Private media 
companies, where available, should also be approached to provide a 
concessional rate for programming on social issues. 

6. Promote gender sensitivity in media representation of women in media espe- 
cially at the managerial level. 

(e) Finance 

1. For materials produced during the project implementation period which are 
proven to be popular, donor agencies should be approached for reproduction 
for greater multiplier effect. ESCAP should consider providing support for 
transition period while other funding source for material reproduction are being 

Page GG 

2. Where state run broadcasting companies as well as commercial television 
programmes are becoming expensive, donor agencies should be approached to 
sponsor some television programming. 

3. Funding could be explored for activities which should not be undertaken during 
the project. These include the production of television spots, women's festivals, 
slide productions for cinema hall distribution and television dramas, etc. 

4. The effectiveness and impact of the various forms of media used in the project 
should be assessed. Funding for modalities under which donors could directly 
support NGO projects should be explored. 

5. Donor agencies should consider financing CEDAW promotional activities as part 
of awareness raising of CEDAW. Promotion should be given equal weight in 
terms of finance with other activities. 

6. Considering the geographical nature of the Pacific island countries, it should be 
understood that the transport cost will be high in order to reach target groups. 

7. Funds should be made available for countries which have not ratified the 
Convention for promotion of the ratification. 

8. Donors should be aware the ongoing activities funded by other sources to 
consolidate funding the efforts. For example, 1EC materials produced during 
this project could be incorporated into the CEDAW portion of the ongoing good 
governance project funded by UNDP 

(f) Other 

Where cultural practices are supportive of women's human rights, these 
practices should be used as an integral part in promoting CEDAW articles. 

Page 67 

Appendix 1: 




The States Parties to the present Convention, 

Noting that the Charter of the United Nations reaffirms faith in fundamental 
human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights 
of man and women, 

Noting that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms the principle of 
the inadmissibility of discrimination and proclaims that all human beings are born 
free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and 
freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of any kind, including distinction based 
on sex, 

Noting that the States Parties to the International Covenants on Human Rights 
have the obligation to ensure the equal right of men and women to enjoy all 
economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights, 

Considering the international conventions concluded under the auspices of the 
United Nations and the specialized agencies promoting equality of rights of men and 

Noting also the resolutions, declarations and recommendations adopted by the 
United Nations and the specialized agencies promoting equality of rights of men and 

Concerned, however, that despite these various instruments extensive discrimi- 
nation against women continues to exist, 

Recalling that discrimination against women violates the principles of equality 
of rights and respect for human dignity, is an obstacle to the participation of 
women, on equal terms with men, in the political, social, economic and cultural life 
of their countries, hampers the growth of the prosperity of society and the family 
and makes more difficult the full development of the potentialities of women in the 
service of their countries and of humanity, 

Concerned that in situations of poverty women have the least access to food, 
health, education, training and opportunities for employment and other needs, 

Convinced that the establishment of the new international economic order 
based on equity and justice will contribute significantly towards the promotion of 
equality between men and women, 

Page 63 

Emphasizing that the eradication of apartheid, of all forms of racism, racial 
discrimination, colonialism, neo-colonialism, aggression, foreign occupation and 
domination and interference in the internal affairs of States is essential to the full 
enjoyment of the rights of men and women, 

Affirming that the strengthening of international peace and security, relaxation 
of international tension, mutual cooperation among all States irrespective of their 
social and economic systems, general and complete disarmament, and in particular 
nuclear disarmament under strict and effective international control, the affirmation 
of the principles of justice, equality and mutual benefit in relations among countries 
and the realization of the right of peoples under alien and colonial domination and 
foreign occupation to self-determination and independence, as well as respect for 
national sovereignty and territorial integrity, will promote social progress and develop- 
ment and as a consequence will contribute to the attainment of full equality between 
men and women, 

Convinced that the full and complete development of a country, the welfare of 
the world and the cause of peace require the maximum participation of women on 
equal terms with men in all fields, 

Bearing in mind the great contribution of women to the welfare of the family 
and to the development of society, so far not fully recognized, the social significance 
of maternity and the role of both parents in the family and in the upbringing of 
children, and aware that the role of women in procreation should not be a basis for 
discrimination but that the upbringing of children requires a sharing of responsibility 
between men and women and society as a whole, 

Aware that a change in the traditional role of men as well as the role of 
women in society and in the family is needed to achieve full equality between men 
and women, 

Determined to implement the principles set forth in the Declaration on the 
Elimination of Discrimination against Women and, for that purpose, to adopt the 
measures required for the elimination of such discrimination in all its forms and 

Have agreed on the following: 


Article 1. 

For the purposes of the present Convention, the term "discrimination against 
women" shall mean any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex 
which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment 
or exercise by women irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of 
men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, 
economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field. 

Page 69 

Article 2. 

States Parties condemn discrimination against women in all its forms, agree to 
pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating discrimina- 
tion against women and, to this end, undertake: 

(a) To embody the principle of the equality of men and women in their 
national constitutions or other appropriate legislation if not yet incorpo- 
rated therein and to ensure, through law and other appropriate means, 
the practical realization of this principle; 

(b) To adopt appropriate legislative and other measures, including sanctions 
where appropriate, prohibiting all discrimination against women; 

(c) To establish legal protection of the rights of women on an equal basis 
with men and to ensure through competent national tribunals and other 
public institutions the effective protection of women against any act of 

(d) To refrain from engaging in any act or practice of discrimination against 
women and to ensure that public authorities and institutions shall act in 
conformity with this obligation; 

(e) To take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against 
women by any person, organization or enterprise; 

(f) To take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to modify or 
abolish existing laws, regulations, customs and practices which constitute 
discrimination against women; 

(g) To repeal all national penal provisions which constitute discrimination 
against women. 

Article 3. 

States Parties shall take in all fields, in particular in the political, social, 
economic and cultural fields, all appropriate measures, including legislation, to 
ensure the full development and advancement of women, for the purpose of 
guaranteeing them the exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental 
freedoms on a basis of equality with men. 

Article 4. 

1. Adoption by States Parties of temporary special measures aimed at accelerating 
de facto equality between men and women shall not be considered discrimina- 
tion as defined in the present Convention, but shall in no way entail as a 
consequence the maintenance of unequal or separate standards; these meas- 
ures shall be discontinued when the objectives of equality of opportunity and 
treatment have been achieved. 

2. Adoption by States Parties of special measures, including those measures 
contained in the present Convention, aimed at protecting maternity shall not be 
considered discriminatory. 

Page 70 

Article 5. 

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures: 

(a) To modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and 
women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and 
customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the 
inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles 
for men and women; 

(b) To ensure that family education includes a proper understanding of 
maternity as a social function and the recognition of the common 
responsibility of men and women in the upbringing and development of 
their children, it being understood that the interest of the children is the 
primordial consideration in all cases. 

Article 6. 

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to 
suppress all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of prostitution of women. 


Article 7. 

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination 
against women in the political and public life of the country and, in particular, shall 
ensure to women, on equal terms with men, the right: 

(a) To vote in all elections and public referenda and to be eligible for election 
to all publicly elected bodies; 

(b) To participate in the formulation of government policy and the implemen- 
tation thereof and to hold public office and perform all public functions at 
all levels of government; 

(c) To participate in non-governmental organizations and associations 
concerned with the public and political life of the country. 

Article 8. 

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure to women, on 
equal terms with men and without any discrimination, the opportunity to represent 
their Governments at the international level and to participate in the work of 
international organizations. 

Article 9. 

1. States Parties shall grant women equal rights with men to acquire, change or 
retain their nationality. They shall ensure in particular that neither marriage to 
an alien nor change of nationality by the husband during marriage shall 
automatically change the nationality of the wife, render her stateless or force 
upon her the nationality of the husband. 

2. States Parties shall grant women equal rights with men with respect to the 
nationality of their children. 

Page 71 


Article 10. 

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination 
against women in order to ensure to them equal rights with men in the field of 
education and in particular to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women: 

(a) The same conditions for career and vocational guidance, for access to 
studies and for the achievement of diplomas in educational establish- 
ments of all categories in rural as well as in urban areas; this equality 
shall be ensured in preschool, general, technical, professional and higher 
technical education, as well as in all types of vocational training; 

(b) Access to the same curricula, the same examinations, teaching staff with 
qualifications of the same standard and school premises and equipment 
of the same quality; 

(c) The elimination of any stereotyped concept of the roles of men and 
women at all levels and in all forms of education by encouraging 
coeducation and other types of education which will help to achieve this 
aim and, in particular, by the revision of textbooks and school pro- 
grammes and the adaptation of teaching methods; 

(d) The same opportunities to benefit from scholarships and other study 

(e) The same opportunities for access to programmes of continuing educa- 
tion including adult and functional literacy programmes, particularly those 
aimed at reducing, at the earliest possible time, any gap in education 
existing between men and women; 

(f) The reduction of female student drop-out rates and the organization of 
programmes for girls and women who have left school prematurely; 

(g) The same opportunities to participate actively in sports and physical 

(h) Access to specific educational information to help to ensure the health 
and well-being of families, including information and advice on family 

Article 11. 

1. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination 
against women in the field of employment in order to ensure, on a basis of 
equality of men and women, the same rights, in particular: 

(a) The right to work as an inalienable right of all human beings; 

(b) The right to the same employment opportunities, including the application 
of the same criteria for selection in matters of employment; 

Page 72 

(c) The right to free choice of profession and employment, the right to 
promotion, job security and all benefits and conditions of service and the 
right to receive vocational training and retraining, including apprenticeships, 
advanced vocational training and recurrent training; 

(d) The right to equal remuneration, including benefits, and to equal treatment 
in respect of work of equal value, as well as equality of treatment in the 
evaluation of the quality of work; 

(e) The right to social security, particularly in cases of retirement, unemploy- 
ment, sickness, invalidity and old age and other incapacity to work, as well 
as the right to paid leave; 

(f) The right to protection of health and to safety in working conditions, 
including the safeguarding of the function of reproduction. 

In order to prevent discrimination against women on the grounds of marriage or 
maternity and to ensure their effective right to work, States Parties shall take 
appropriate measures: 

(a) To prohibit, subject to the imposition of sanctions, dismissal on the 
grounds of pregnancy or of maternity leave and discrimination in dismissals 
on the basis of marital status; 

(b) To introduce maternity leave with pay or with comparable social benefits 
without loss of former employment, seniority or social allowances; 

(c) To encourage the provision of the necessary supporting social services to 
enable parents to combine family obligations with work responsibilities and 
participation in public life, in particular through promoting the establish- 
ment and development of a network of child-care facilities; 

(d) To provide special protection to women during pregnancy in types of work 
proved to be harmful to them. 

Protective legislation relating to matters covered in this article shall be reviewed 
periodically in the light of scientific and technological knowledge and shall be 
revised, repealed or extended as necessary. 

Article 12. 

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination 
against women in the field of health care in order to ensure, on a basis of 
equality of men and women, access to health care services, including those 
related to family planning. 

Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 1 of this article, States Parties shall 
ensure to women appropriate services in connection with pregnancy, confine- 
ment and the post-natal period, granting free services where necessary, as well 
as adequate nutrition during pregnancy and lactation. 

Page 73 

Article 13. 

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination 
against women in other areas of economic and social life in order to ensure, on a 
basis of equality of men and women, the same rights, in particular: 

(a) The right to family benefits; 

(b) The right to bank loans, mortgages and other forms of financial credit; 

(c) The right to participate in recreational activities, sports and all aspects of 
cultural life. 

Article 14. 

1. States Parties shall take into account the particular problems faced by rural 
women and the significant roles which rural women play in the economic 
survival of their families, including their work in the non-monetized sectors of 
the economy, and shall take all appropriate measures to ensure the application 
of the provisions of this Convention to women in rural areas. 

2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination 
against women in rural areas in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men 
and women, that they participate in and benefit from rural development and, in 
particular, shall ensure to such women the right: 

(a) To participate in the elaboration and implementation of development plan- 
ning at all levels; 

(b) To have access to adequate health care facilities, including information, 
counselling and services in family planning; 

(c) To benefit directly from social security programmes; 

(d) To obtain all types of training and education, formal and non-formal, 
including that relating to functional literacy, as well as, inter alia, the benefit 
of all community and extension services, in order to increase their technical 

(e) To organize self-help groups and cooperatives in order to obtain equal 
access to economic opportunities through employment or self-employment; 

(f) To participate in all community activities; 

(g) To have access to agricultural credit and loans, marketing facilities, 
appropriate technology and equal treatment in land and agrarian reform as 
well as in land resettlement schemes; 

(h) To enjoy adequate living conditions, particularly in relation to housing, 
sanitation, electricity and water supply, transport and communications. 

Page 74 

Article 15. 

1. States Parties shall accord to women equality with men before the law. 

2. States Parties shall accord to women, in civil matters, a legal capacity identical 
to that of men and the same opportunities to exercise that capacity. In 
particular, they shall give women equal rights to conclude contracts and to 
administer property and shall treat them equally in all stages of procedure in 
courts and tribunals. 

3. States Parties agree that all contracts and all other private instruments of any 
kind with a legal effect which is directed at restricting the legal capacity of 
women shall be deemed null and void. 

4. States Parties shall accord to men and women the same rights with regard to 
the law relating to the movement of persons and the freedom to choose their 
residence and domicile. 

Article 16. 

1. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination 
against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations and in 
particular shall ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women: 

(a) The same right to enter into marriage; 

(b) The same right freely to choose a spouse and to enter into marriage only 
with their free and full consent; 

(c) The same rights and responsibilities during marriage and at its dissolution; 

(d) The same rights and responsibilities as parents, irrespective of their marital 
status, in matters relating to their children; in all cases the interests of the 
children shall be paramount; 

(e) The same rights to decide freely and responsibly on the number and 
spacing of their children and to have access to the information, education 
and means to enable them to exercise these rights; 

(f) The same rights and responsibilities with regard to guardianship, wardship, 
trusteeship and adoption of children, or similar institutions where these 
concepts exist in national legislation; in all cases the interests of the 
children shall be paramount; 

(g) The same personal rights as husband and wife, including the right to 
choose a family name, a profession and an occupation; 

(h) The same rights for both spouses in respect of the ownership, acquisition, 
management, administration, enjoyment and disposition of property, 
whether free of charge or for a valuable consideration. 

Page 75 

2. The betrothal and the marriage of a child shall have no legal effect, and all 
necessary action, including legislation, shall be taken to specify a minimum age 
for marriage and to make the registration of marriages in an official registry 

Article 17. 

1. For the purpose of considering the progress made in the implementation of the 
present Convention, there shall be established a Committee on the Elimination 
of Discrimination against Women (hereinafter referred to as the Committee) 
consisting, at the time of entry into force of the Convention, of eighteen and, 
after ratification of or accession to the Convention by the thirty-fifth State Party, 
of twenty-three experts of high moral standing and competence in the field 
covered by the Convention. The experts shall be elected by States Parties 
from among their nationals and shall serve in their personal capacity, 
consideration being given to equitable geographical distribution and to the 
representation of the different forms of civilization as well as the principal legal 

2. The members of the Committee shall be elected by secret ballot from a list of 
persons nominated by States Parties. Each State Party may nominate one 
person from among its own nationals. 

3. The initial election shall be held six months after the date of the entry into force 
of the present Convention. At least three months before the date of each 
election the Secretary- General of the United Nations shall address a letter to the 
States Parties inviting them to submit their nominations within two months. 
The Secretary- General shall prepare a list in alphabetical order of all persons 
thus nominated, indicating the States Parties which have nominated them, and 
shall submit it to the States Parties. 

4. Elections of the members of the Committee shall be held at a meeting of 
States Parties convened by the Secretary-General at United Nations Headquar- 
ters. At that meeting, for which two thirds of the States Parties shall constitute 
a quorum, the persons elected to the Committee shall be those nominees who 
obtain the largest number of votes and an absolute majority of the votes of the 
representatives of States Parties present and voting. 

5. The members of the Committee shall be elected for a term of four years. 
However, the terms of nine of the members elected at the first election shall 
expire at the end of two years; immediately after the first election the names 
of these nine members shall be chosen by lot by the Chairman of the 

6. The election of the five additional members of the Committee shall be held in 
accordance with the provisions of paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 of this article, 
following the thirty-fifth ratification or accession. The terms of two of the 

Page 76 

additional members elected on this occasion shall expire at the end of two 
years, the names of these two members having been chosen by lot by the 
Chairman of the Committee. 

7. For the filling of casual vacancies, the State Party whose expert has ceased to 
function as a member of the Committee shall appoint another expert from 
among its nationals, subject to the approval of the Committee. 

8. The members of the Committee shall, with the approval of the General 
Assembly, receive emoluments from United Nations resources on such terms 
and conditions as the Assembly may decide, having regard to the importance of 
the Committee's responsibilities. 

9. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall provide the necessary staff 
and facilities for the effective performance of the functions of the Committee 
under the present Convention. 

Article 18. 

1. States Parties undertake to submit to the Secretary- General of the United 
Nations, for consideration by the Committee, a report on the legislative, 
judicial, administrative or other measures which they have adopted to give 
effect to the provisions of the present Convention and on the progress made in 
this respect: 

(a) Within one year after the entry into force for the State concerned; 

(b) Thereafter at least every four years and further whenever the Committee so 

2. Reports may indicate factors and difficulties affecting the degree of fulfilment of 
obligations under the present Convention. 

Article 19. 

1. The Committee shall adopt its own rules of procedure. 

2. The Committee shall elect its officers for a term of two years. 

Article 20. 

1. The Committee shall normally meet for a period of not more than two weeks 
annually in order to consider the reports submitted in accordance with article 
18 of the present Convention. 

2. The meetings of the Committee shall normally be held at United Nations 
Headquarters or at any other convenient place as determined by the Commit- 

Page 77 

Article 21. 

1. The Committee shall, through the Economic and Social Council, report annually 
to the General Assembly of the Gnited Nations on its activities and may make 
suggestions and general recommendations based on the examination of reports 
and information received from the States Parties. Such suggestions and 
general recommendations shall be included in the report of the Committee 
together with comments, if any, from States Parties. 

2. The Secretary- General shall transmit the reports of the Committee to the 
Commission on the Status of Women for its information. 

Article 22. 

The specialized agencies shall be entitled to be represented at the considera- 
tion of the implementation of such provisions of the present Convention as fall 
within the scope of their activities. The Committee may invite the specialized 
agencies to submit reports on the implementation of the Convention in areas falling 
within the scope of their activities. PART VI Article 23. Nothing in this Convention 
shall affect any provisions that are more conducive to the achievement of equality 
between men and women which may be contained: 

(a) In the legislation of a State Party; or 

(b) In any other international convention, treaty or agreement in force for 
that State. Article 24. States Parties undertake to adopt all necessary 
measures at the national level aimed at achieving the full realization of 
the rights recognized in the present Convention. 

Article 25. 

1. The present Convention shall be open for signature by all States. 

2. The Secretary- General of the Gnited Nations is designated as the depositary of 
the present Convention. 

3. The present Convention is subject to ratification. Instruments of ratification 
shall be deposited with the Secretary- General of the Gnited Nations. 

4. The present Convention shall be open to accession by all States. Accession 
shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument of accession with the 
Secretary- General of the Gnited Nations. 

Article 26. 

1. A request for the revision of the present Convention may be made at any time 
by any State Party by means of a notification in writing addressed to the 
Secretary- General of the Gnited Nations. 

2. The General Assembly of the Gnited Nations shall decide upon the steps, if any, 
to be taken in respect of such a request. 

Page 75 

Article 27. 

The present Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date 
of deposit with the Secretary-General of the Gnited Nations of the twentieth 
instrument of ratification or accession. 

For each State ratifying the present Convention or acceding to it after the 
deposit of the twentieth instrument of ratification or accession, the Convention 
shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date of the deposit of its own 
instrument of ratification or accession. 

Article 28. 

The Secretary- General of the Gnited Nations shall receive and circulate to all 
States the text of reservations made by States at the time of ratification or 

A reservation incompatible with the object and purpose of the present Conven- 
tion shall not be permitted. 

Reservations may be withdrawn at any time by notification to this effect 
addressed to the Secretary- General of the Gnited Nations, who shall then inform 
all States thereof. Such notification shall take effect on the date on which it is 

Article 29. 

1. Any dispute between two or more States Parties concerning the interpretation or 
application of the present Convention which is not settled by negotiation shall, 
at the request of one of them, be submitted to arbitration. If within six months 
from the date of the request for arbitration the parties are unable to agree on 
the organization of the arbitration, any one of those parties may refer the 
dispute to the International Court of Justice by request in conformity with the 
Statute of the Court. 

2. Each State Party may at the time of signature or ratification of this Convention 
or accession thereto declare that it does not consider itself bound by paragraph 
1 of this article. The other States Parties shall not be bound by that paragraph 
with respect to any State Party which has made such a reservation. 

3. Any State Party which has made a reservation in accordance with paragraph 2 
of this article may at any time withdraw that reservation by notification to the 
Secretary- General of the Gnited Nations. 

Article 30. 

The present Convention, the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and 
Spanish texts of which are equally authentic, shall be deposited with the Secretary- 
General of the Gnited Nations. IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned, duly 
authorized, have signed the present Convention. 

Page 79 


Very often, human rights treaties are followed by "Optional Protocols" which may 
either provide for procedures with regard to the treaty or address a substantive area 
related to the treaty. Optional Protocols to human rights treaties are treaties in their 
own right, and are open to signature, accession or ratification by countries who are party 
to the main treaty. 

The Optional Protocol to CEDAW was adopted on 6 October ]9 99 and includes the 
communication procedure which gives individuals and groups of women the right to 
complain to the CEDAW Committee about violations of the Convention, and the inquiry 
procedure which enables the Committee to conduct inquiries into grave or systematic 
abuse of women's human rights in countries that have become party to the Optional 


54/4. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of 
All Forms of Discrimination against Women 

The General Assembly, 

Reaffirming the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action 3 and the Beijing 
Declaration 4 and Platform for Action, 5 

Recalling that the Beijing Platform for Action, pursuant to the Vienna 
Declaration and Programme of Action, supported the process initiated by the 
Commission on the Status of Women 6 with a view to elaborating a draft optional 
protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against 
Women 6 that could enter into force as soon as possible on a right-to-petition 

Noting that the Beijing Platform for Action also called on all States that have 
not yet ratified or acceded to the Convention to do so as soon as possible so that 
universal ratification of the Convention can be achieved by the year 2000: 

1. Adopts and opens for signature, ratification and accession the Optional 
Protocol to the Convention, the text of which is annexed to the present 

3 iVCONF. 157/24 (Part I), chap. III. 

4 Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 4-15 September 1995 (United 
Nations publication, Sales No. E.96.IV 13), chap. I, resolution 1, annex I. 

5 Ibid., annex II. 

6 Resolution 34/180, annex. 99-77473. 

Page 30 

2. Calls upon all States that have signed, ratified or acceded to the 
Convention to sign and ratify or to accede to the Protocol as soon as 

3. Stresses that States parties to the Protocol should undertake to respect 
the rights and procedures provided by the Protocol and cooperate with 
the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women at all 
stages of its proceedings under the Protocol; 

4. Stresses also that in the fulfilment of its mandate as well as its functions 
under the Protocol, the Committee should continue to be guided by the 
principles of non-selectivity, impartiality and objectivity; 

5. Requests the Committee to hold meetings to exercise its functions under 
the Protocol after its entry into force, in addition to its meetings held 
under article 20 of the Convention; the duration of such meetings shall be 
determined and, if necessary, reviewed by a meeting of the States parties 
to the Protocol, subject to the approval of the General Assembly; 

6. Requests the Secretary-General to provide the staff and facilities necessary 
for the effective performance of the functions of the Committee under the 
Protocol after its entry into force; 

7. Also requests the Secretary-General to include information on the status 
of the Protocol in her or his regular reports submitted to the General 
Assembly on the status of the Convention. 

2& h plenary meeting 
6 October 1999 

Page S1 

Appendix 2: 


The States Parties to the present Protocol, 

Noting that the Charter of the United Nations reaffirms faith in fundamental 
human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights 
of men and women, 

Also noting that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 7 proclaims that all 
human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is 
entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of any 
kind, including distinction based on sex, 

Recalling that the International Covenants on Human Rights 8 and other 
international human rights instruments prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, 

Also recalling the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimina- 
tion against Women ("the Convention"), in which the States Parties thereto condemn 
discrimination against women in all its forms and agree to pursue by all appropriate 
means and without delay a policy of eliminating discrimination against women, 

Reaffirming their determination to ensure the full and equal enjoyment by 
women of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and to take effective action to 
prevent violations of these rights and freedoms, 

Have agreed as follows: 

Article 1. 

A State Party to the present Protocol ("State Party") recognizes the compe- 
tence of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women ("the 
Committee") to receive and consider communications submitted in accordance with 
article 2. 

Article 2. 

Communications may be submitted by or on behalf of individuals or groups of 
individuals, under the jurisdiction of a State Party, claiming to be victims of a 
violation of any of the rights set forth in the Convention by that State Party Where 
a communication is submitted on behalf of individuals or groups of individuals, this 
shall be with their consent unless the author can justify acting on their behalf 
without such consent. 

7 Resolution 217 A (III). 

8 Resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex. 

Page S2 

Article 3. 

Communications shall be in writing and shall not be anonymous. No 
communication shall be received by the Committee if it concerns a State Party to 
the Convention that is not a party to the present Protocol. 

Article 4. 

1. The Committee shall not consider a communication unless it has ascertained 
that all available domestic remedies have been exhausted unless the application 
of such remedies is unreasonably prolonged or unlikely to bring effective relief. 

2. The Committee shall declare a communication inadmissible where: 

(a) The same matter has already been examined by the Committee or has 
been or is being examined under another procedure of international 
investigation or settlement; 

(b) It is incompatible with the provisions of the Convention; 

(c) It is manifestly ill-founded or not sufficiently substantiated; 

(d) It is an abuse of the right to submit a communication; 

(e) The facts that are the subject of the communication occurred prior to the 
entry into force of the present Protocol for the State Party concerned 
unless those facts continued after that date. 

Article 5. 

1. At any time after the receipt of a communication and before a determination on 
the merits has been reached, the Committee may transmit to the State Party 
concerned for its urgent consideration a request that the State Party take such 
interim measures as may be necessary to avoid possible irreparable damage to 
the victim or victims of the alleged violation. 

2. Where the Committee exercises its discretion under paragraph 1 of the present 
article, this does not imply a determination on admissibility or on the merits of 
the communication. 

Article 6. 

1. Unless the Committee considers a communication inadmissible without refer- 
ence to the State Party concerned, and provided that the individual or individu- 
als consent to the disclosure of their identity to that State Party, the Committee 
shall bring any communication submitted to it under the present Protocol 
confidentially to the attention of the State Party concerned. 

2. Within six months, the receiving State Party shall submit to the Committee 
written explanations or statements clarifying the matter and the remedy, if any, 
that may have been provided by that State Party. 

Article 7. 

1. The Committee shall consider communications received under the present 
Protocol in the light of all information made available to it by or on behalf of 
individuals or groups of individuals and by the State Party concerned, provided 
that this information is transmitted to the parties concerned. 

Page S3 

The Committee shall hold closed meetings when examining communications 
under the present Protocol. 

After examining a communication, the Committee shall transmit its views on the 
communication, together with its recommendations, if any, to the parties 

The State Party shall give due consideration to the views of the Committee, 
together with its recommendations, if any, and shall submit to the Committee, 
within six months, a written response, including information on any action taken 
in the light of the views and recommendations of the Committee. 

The Committee may invite the State Party to submit further information about 
any measures the State Party has taken in response to its views or recommen- 
dations, if any, including as deemed appropriate by the Committee, in the State 
Party's subsequent reports under article 18 of the Convention. 

Article 8. 

1. If the Committee receives reliable information indicating grave or systematic 
violations by a State Party of rights set forth in the Convention, the Committee 
shall invite that State Party to cooperate in the examination of the information 
and to this end to submit observations with regard to the information concerned. 

2. Taking into account any observations that may have been submitted by the 
State Party concerned as well as any other reliable information available to it, 
the Committee may designate one or more of its members to conduct an 
inquiry and to report urgently to the Committee. Where warranted and with the 
consent of the State Party, the inquiry may include a visit to its territory. 

3. After examining the findings of such an inquiry, the Committee shall transmit 
these findings to the State Party concerned together with any comments and 

4. The State Party concerned shall, within six months of receiving the findings, 
comments and recommendations transmitted by the Committee, submit its 
observations to the Committee. 

5. Such an inquiry shall be conducted confidentially and the cooperation of the 
State Party shall be sought at all stages of the proceedings. 

Article 9. 

1. The Committee may invite the State Party concerned to include in its report 
under article 18 of the Convention details of any measures taken in response to 
an inquiry conducted under article 8 of the present Protocol. 

2. The Committee may, if necessary, after the end of the period of six months 
referred to in article 8.4, invite the State Party concerned to inform it of the 
measures taken in response to such an inquiry. 

Article 10. 

1. Each State Party may, at the time of signature or ratification of the present 
Protocol or accession thereto, declare that it does not recognize the compe- 
tence of the Committee provided for in articles 8 and 9. 

Page S4 

2. Any State Party having made a declaration in accordance with paragraph 1 of 
the present article may, at any time, withdraw this declaration by notification to 
the Secretary-General. 

Article 11. 

A State Party shall take all appropriate steps to ensure that individuals under 
its jurisdiction are not subjected to ill treatment or intimidation as a consequence of 
communicating with the Committee pursuant to the present Protocol. 

Article 12. 

The Committee shall include in its annual report under article 21 of the 
Convention a summary of its activities under the present Protocol. 

Article 13. 

Each State Party undertakes to make widely known and to give publicity to 
the Convention and the present Protocol and to facilitate access to information 
about the views and recommendations of the Committee, in particular, on matters 
involving that State Party. 

Article 14. 

The Committee shall develop its own rules of procedure to be followed when 
exercising the functions conferred on it by the present Protocol. 

Article 15. 

1. The present Protocol shall be open for signature by any State that has signed, 
ratified or acceded to the Convention. 

2. The present Protocol shall be subject to ratification by any State that has 
ratified or acceded to the Convention. Instruments of ratification shall be 
deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations. 

3. The present Protocol shall be open to accession by any State that has ratified 
or acceded to the Convention. 

4. Accession shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument of accession with 
the Secretary- General of the United Nations. 

Article 16. 

1. The present Protocol shall enter into force three months after the date of the 
deposit with the Secretary- General of the United Nations of the tenth instrument 
of ratification or accession. 

2. For each State ratifying the present Protocol or acceding to it after its entry into 
force, the present Protocol shall enter into force three months after the date of 
the deposit of its own instrument of ratification or accession. 

Article 17. 

No reservations to the present Protocol shall be permitted. 

Page 55 

Article 18. 

1. Any State Party may propose an amendment to the present Protocol and file it 
with the Secretary- General of the United Nations. The Secretary-General shall 
thereupon communicate any proposed amendments to the States Parties with a 
request that they notify her or him whether they favour a conference of States 
Parties for the purpose of considering and voting on the proposal. In the event 
that at least one third of the States Parties favour such a conference, the 
Secretary- General shall convene the conference under the auspices of the 
United Nations. Any amendment adopted by a majority of the States Parties 
present and voting at the conference shall be submitted to the General 
Assembly of the United Nations for approval. 

2. Amendments shall come into force when they have been approved by the 
General Assembly of the United Nations and accepted by a two-thirds majority 
of the States Parties to the present Protocol in accordance with their respective 
constitutional processes. 

3. When amendments come into force, they shall be binding on those States 
Parties that have accepted them, other States Parties still being bound by the 
provisions of the present Protocol and any earlier amendments that they have 

Article 19. 

1. Any State Party may denounce the present Protocol at any time by written 
notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Denun- 
ciation shall take effect six months after the date of receipt of the notification 
by the Secretary-General. 

2. Denunciation shall be without prejudice to the continued application of the 
provisions of the present Protocol to any communication submitted under article 
2 or any inquiry initiated under article 8 before the effective date of denunciation. 

Article 20. 

The Secretary- General of the United Nations shall inform all States of: 

(a) Signatures, ratifications and accessions under the present Protocol; 

(b) The date of entry into force of the present Protocol and of any amend- 

ment under article 18; 

(c) Any denunciation under article 19. 

Article 21. 

1. The present Protocol, of which the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian 
and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited in the archives of 
the United Nations. 

2. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall transmit certified copies of 
the present Protocol to all States referred to in article 25 of the Convention. 

Page 36 


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